Luke Kennard had a demanding coach at Duke but Coach K is usually measured with his public criticisms of players.
Then again, he’s a college coach and he’s dealing with college students rather than employees.
Kennard got a quick illustration of the difference when his new coach, the Piston’s Stan Van Gundy, basically said his defense sucked and he’d never play him unless it got better: “He’s got to change his entire defensive approach. He’s got to do that if he wants to get on the floor,” Van Gundy told media at Kennard’s introductory news conference.
“Even guarding his own position, that’s an area (where) he’s got to get a lot better and, quite honestly, take a lot more pride in than he did this past year.
“I don’t doubt his capabilities. (But) I watched a lot of games, and he didn’t do it.”
For his part, Kennard took the criticism in stride, saying that “...I like to be pushed. I like when coaches are on me, always giving me teaching points. Coach K was that way with me.
“As soon as I got drafted, I talked with Coach Stan, and he was really involved with me. Throughout this week of practice and games, he’s taught me about this game. I really enjoyed it.”
The NBA is incredibly lucrative but people often misunderstand just how cutthroat it is. It’s a good lesson for Kennard to learn early.