If you are a betting man, Mike Woodson remains the smart place to put your money on becoming the next head coach of the Detroit Pistons. (Although, if you are actually betting on who will be the next coach of the Pistons, it may be time to seek some help.)
But now another name has moved to near the top of the coaches list — Kelvin Sampson. That according to the Detroit News.
Sampson is best known as a college coach, most recently out of Indiana where he was forced to resign due to recruiting violations. However, he comes out of the Gregg Popovich coaching tree in his work with the NBA.
He spent the last season as an assistant with the Milwaukee Bucks, where he essentially played good cop to Scott Skiles bad cop. Players like him. He’s a good communicator.
Woodson is considered a better fit because he is a little more of a disciplinarian (the Pistons locker room was a disaster last season) and because he took over a team in disarray in Atlanta and they got better every year he was there.
Likely one of these two men will replace John Kuester, who was let go once Tom Gores took control as the new owner of the team.
It’s very early in the process of finding a new coach for the Detroit Pistons and although you know Joe Dumars has been thinking about this for a ling while there are a lot of twists and turn the road could still take.
But the first names out of the shoot will not thrill Pistons fans. Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo has them.
The Detroit Pistons are considering several candidates to replace John Kuester as coach, including Milwaukee Bucks assistant Kelvin Sampson, former Atlanta Hawks coach Mike Woodson, Minnesota Timberwolves assistant Bill Laimbeer and television analyst Mark Jackson, league sources said.
Detroit wants to get back to playing good defense first. Is that a group who can do that?
Woodson had some success in Atlanta and the defenses got better there the longer he coached, but they never got above average. He ran a tedious, isolation heavy offense. (Although we learned this year when you asked those same players to pass the ball they were not good at it, so the Hawks had to go to back to more isolation in the playoffs.)
As for the rest of the guys? Well, Mark Jackson can coach “hands down, man” down really well, but aside that we don’t know a ton about what that group can accomplish.
The sale of the Detroit Pistons to Tom Gores has finally gone through, and he has taken only a few days to start the process of rebuilding the franchise.
That starts by firing coach John Kuester, as reported by a number of sources including ESPN.
“Decisions like this are difficult to make,” team president Joe Dumars said. “I want to thank John for his hard work and dedication to the organization over the last two years, however, at this time we have decided to make a change.”
This was a change that needed to happen. Kuester was 57-105 in two seasons, and this past season the only headlines the Pistons made were as the team’s veteran rebelled against him, with internal squabbling and even missed practices.
Kuester was the assistant coach behind the offensive improvements in the Cavaliers offense during the LeBron James era there (although improved players had a lot to do with that, too). He likely will land somewhere as an assistant (back with Mike Brown, now in Los Angeles?). But as a head coach he clearly lost the team and would have lost his job more quickly had it not been for the sale of the team taking most of the season.
As for who is next, former Atlanta Hawks coach Mike Woodson was a Pistons assistant before. Aside that, expect the usual suspects, but it depends on what direction Gores wants to take the franchise in terms of style of play.
The ongoing skirmish between Pistons players and coach John Kuester just ratcheted up a notch. Or five.
Five players were absent from Pistons morning shootaround Friday in Philadelphia in what a source told the Detroit News was a protest of the coach. Tracy McGrady, Tayshaun Prince, Richard Hamilton Chris Wilcox and Ben Wallace were not at the shootaround (although Wallace has been out for a few games dealing with a personal issue so his situation is different). Austin Daye and Rodney Stuckey showed up as shootaround ended saying they missed the bus.
There were excuses for missing the shootaround — McGrady had a headache, for example — but apparently the message was clear. Kuester said he would start the guys who did show for shootaround.
Kuester and his players have been fighting all season, with Prince and Kuester having words, Wallace basically saying the team doesn’t play hard for the coach and, and the Hamilton train wreck. Now this. And that is just the public stuff, behind closed doors the Pistons players are more than happy to complain about Kuester and how he treats and communicates with players. These are veteran players — ones past their prime, hence the 21-38 record — who expect to be treated a certain way. They feel they are not be, and things have gotten progressively worse as the season has worn on. Just like the Pistons play.
With the Pistons in the midst of an ownership sale, it doesn’t seem likely you’d see a coaching change soon. That means tension will likely continue the rest of the season. And the team will spiral downward with it. Sorry Pistons fans.