ANDERSEN: Next Pistons coach has to be strong hire
Are the Pistons ever going to find The Coach?
It makes you really wonder, since it seems like the last few Pistons coaches have been picked by means of a dart board.
They rolled the dice on Michael Curry, the hard-working former Piston, who was supposed to embody everything Detroit wanted in a head coach.
They fired Curry when it was clear he’s not ready for the job and took their chances with John Kuester, an offensive guru, who finally got his head coaching chance.
They fired Kuester and gave a shot to Lawrence Frank, a guy who knew all the Xs and Os and had been around the block before.
They fired Frank and will be trying your luck with, who knows. Maybe Lindsey Hunter?
Enough’s enough. It’s time to stop the revolving door. The coach has been made the scapegoat too many times in Detroit and it’s getting downright ridiculous.
Reaching the Eastern Conference Finals used to be the norm in Motown. The Pistons haven’t come close in the last five seasons, going just 150-244 and reaching the playoffs once; a forgettable 4-0 sweep at the hands of Cleveland in 2009.
New owner Tom Gores is someone who demands excellence from his team and he should. But if you’re going to demand excellence, find the right guy for the job and actually give him a chance to show what he can do. Detroit must find a coach that’s going to be around for the long haul and give him time to get a system in place. The Pistons can’t be in rebuilding mode every two seasons.
Being the coach of the Detroit Pistons isn’t as glamorous as being coach of the Lakers or the Knicks, but it’s certainly not rock bottom on the list of NBA coaching jobs. Odds are that Phil Jackson won’t be pacing the sideline next season (in Detroit anyway), but there are quality candidates available whether it’s a Van Gundy brother, Avery Johnson, Nate McMillan or someone else.
At some point, Gores has got to hold other people accountable too, whether it’s President of Basketball Operations Joe Dumars or the players.
This is the third coach or maybe fourth in a row, who the players have eventually just tuned out at some point during the season. At what point do Gores and Dumars say enough is enough and get rid of the troublemakers in the locker room. Managing a roster full of players with varying egos is a tough task, but the Pistons aren’t exactly a team full of LeBron’s and Kobe’s. There’s no one on the roster right now who is even close to being in the upper echelon of NBA superstars, so no one has any business acting like they’re better than the coach.
Give Dumars one more season to show whether or not he can right the ship. He’ll have pretty good chances of landing a top-10 pick in the upcoming draft and plenty of money to play around with. Spend the money on quality veterans who can contribute to the team. If Detroit’s not in the playoffs next season, send him packing too.
There’s no reason not to expect a playoff berth next season, even if it’s the eighth seed. Boston was the 7-seed this year with a 41-40 record and Milwaukee nabbed the last spot despite being six games under .500. Detroit doesn’t have the firepower or experience to challenge top teams like Miami, but it could be right in the mix next year in the middle of the Eastern Conference.
There’s a good deal of talent on the roster already with the likes of Greg Monroe, Andre Drummond and Brandon Knight. The addition of a player like Victor Oladipo or Trey Burke gives the Pistons another instant impact player and that’s got to be an appealing scenario for a coach. It’ll mean the Pistons are young, but hopefully it will also mean they’re a team on the rise.
It’s unreasonable to think the Pistons will be NBA Finals bound in the next 2-3 years, but with the right guy entrenched as coach, they can work their way back to being competitive and actually making some noise around the league.
Here’s hoping they’re next gamble pays off.