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Detroit Pistons Coach Dreams: Mike Budenholzer


Age: 40

Current Job: Assistant Coach, San Antonio Spurs (1996-present)

Previous experience:

  • Video Coordinator, San Antonio Spurs (1994-96)
  • Head Coach, two teams in Vejle Basketball Klub system of Denmark (1993-94)


Budenholzer isn’t your typical "career assistant" type of interview. His entire American coaching career, which began as the team’s video coordinator, has been in San Antonio, working alongside Gregg Popovich, one of the game’s best coaches, in one of the game’s best organizations. If a candidate like Budenholzer could instill some of that Spurs culture in Detroit, he’d be well worth consideration.

He also was a candidate for the opening in Golden State. He’s coached the Spurs’ Summer League teams, done advanced scouting for Team USA, and he’s one of the most well-regarded assistants in the league.


As with any first-time head coach, Budenholzer would be a tough sell to many fans who are excited for a big name. John Kuester was a well-thought-of assistant but turned out to be ill-suited for the head job, and there’s always a danger an untested hire could have the same problems adjusting.


If the Pistons decide on someone with no head-coaching experience who is not Bill Laimbeer, I think at the very least, Budenholzer’s ties to the Spurs organization would be a selling point to fans hungry for the Pistons to return to the tough, defense-first style that defined the franchise at its highest points.



  • Jun 8, 20111:46 pm
    by PK


    Probably not still a candidate for golden state right?

  • Jun 8, 20115:51 pm
    by rob


    I like Budenholzer. He’s been an assistant under Popovich the entire Duncan era, yet is still only 40. Thats the type of long-time assistant you want to hire as a first time head coach, not one who is 55 before finally getting his first opportunity.

    Plus, with all the comparison between Monroe and Duncan, he would seem to know exactly how to develop Monroe, having been there since Duncan’s rookie season.

    He also has coached Greg already in the Rookie game, and Greg spoke highly of him afterwards. Saying something like the coaches made a point to get the ball inside and play through the big men (Griffin, Cousins, Monroe). Greg seemed to know that was the right way to play, and so did Budenholzer.

    That was the game Cousins had 25 FGA’s, but Wall had over 20 assists. Obviously a Rooke is not a normal game, but thats how I believe a team shoud always play – The big men should take the most shots, and the guards should have a high number of assists getting the big men those shots.

    So if thats any indication as to how Budenholzer could coach Stuckey and Monroe on offense, along Popovich’s defense, I think he could be a great choice.

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