Friday January 23rd, 2015

Detroit Pistons owner Tom Gores said he is surprised by the team's recent turnaround, according to a report from ESPN.com.

The Pistons began the season 5-23 but have won 12 of their past 15 games since waiving forward Josh Smith, who had two years and more than $26 million remaining on his contract.

Smith, who had averaged 13.1 points, 7.2 rebounds and 4.7 assists over 28 games with the Pistons, later signed with the Houston Rockets.

"I'm surprised about that. I am surprised about that," Gores said. "It's one of those things that you can't calculate so I am surprised about that. I'm not shocked, because I know Stan [Van Gundy] is a great coach, but I am a little surprised about that.

"It's a real tribute to our team and their ability to really kind of keep it going. If you look at our 5-23 start, there weren't a lot of games where they just quit. We just couldn't quite finish or [were] just a little bit off. But I feel great about what's happened since."

SI's 2014-15 NBA Midseason Awards

Detroit hired Van Gundy as coach and president of basketball operations last May. The hiring came after the team decided not to renew the contract of Joe Dumars.

Detroit has not made the playoffs since 2009.

The Pistons beat the Orlando Magic on Wednesday night to move to 17-26.  The team remains 1.5 games back of the Brooklyn Nets and Miami Heat for the No. 8 seed in the Eastern Conference.

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