Next Detroit Pistons Coach Needs to be Hired Based on the Future, Not Past


A Detroit Pistons coaching search has become a semi-annual endeavor. Flip Saunders holds the high water mark in the post Chuck Daly era at just full three seasons and the Pistons will need to end the coaching carousel if they are to gain any semblance of stability.

The problem with this particular Pistons coaching search is there doesn’t appear to be a home run candidate that will satisfy a majority of the fanbase. Each of the rumored candidates has qualities of the failed coaches of the recent past that a dissenting segment of fans can point to as a reason why the man will ultimately be another coaching disaster for the red, white and blue.

Dwane Casey may be fresh off a world championship as an assistant coach with the Dallas Mavericks but his resume also includes a failed stint on the Minnesota Timberwolves’ bench that lasted just a year and a half.

Mike Woodson was an assistant for the 2004 Pistons championship squad and departed to take over the Atlanta Hawks. His Hawks teams showed improvement but he was eventually fired when the team plateaued.

Bill Laimbeer is a former Bad Boy but his head coaching experience is limited to his time in the WNBA with the Detroit Shock. He has since gained some experience as an assistant with the Timberwolves but questions remain about whether or not the tactics he used to find coaching success in the women’s game will translate to the NBA.

Kelvin Sampson is another candidate without NBA head coaching experience but he has been successful in that role at the NCAA level. While sanctions forced him out of the collegiate ranks those issues aren’t likely to be of much concern to an NBA team. His experience as an assistant with the Milwaukee Bucks will be much more important.

With a list of imperfect candidates and a series of bad coaching decisions in his past, it would be easy for Joe Dumars to end up with nothing more than another turn of the carousel. It would be easy to say that the Pistons need to go with a candidate with NBA head coaching experience after the Michael Curry and John Kuester experiements but what if Bill Laimbeer or Kelvin Sampson proves to be the best choice? It would be easy to say that Dwane Casey and Mike Woodson had their chance as a head coach and failed but what if one of them proves to be the best choice?

Joe Dumars can’t make his next hire based on what has happened in the past. Sure, we all hope he learned something over the past few years but trying to avoid the mistakes of the past could lead to missing an opportunity in the present. With a new owner in place and a virtually new roster seemingly just around the corner, the new coach needs to be hired without the specter of Pistons coaches past hanging over his head. It is up to Dumars to do his due diligence to select the best man for the future, not simply a man different from the past.

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