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Detroit Pistons Coach Dreams: Patrick Ewing


Age: 48

Current Job: Assistant Coach, Orlando Magic  (2007-present)

Previous experience:

  • Assistant Coach, Houston Rockets  (2004-06)
  • Assistant Coach, Washington Wizards  (2003-04)


Patrick Ewing insists he’s more than a big man’s coach, and that’s probably true. Obviously, the Pistons should hire someone who’s capable of working with players at every position. Having a specialty is OK, but having a strict limitation is not.

Causality is difficult to assess, but Dwight Howard and Yao Ming both improved significantly under Ewing. In both cases, the player went from a raw, but talented, big man who didn’t regularly assert themselves in the offense to the focal point of the offense. Not only did their roles increase, they looked more polished and displayed a wider variety of post moves.

Ewing would probably be great for Greg Monroe, whose interior game could use a little polish. During the summer league last year, the only time the Pistons ran plays for him, Monroe showed a mixed bag in the post. Plus, Monroe would love to play for another former Georgetown player.

Wait. I’m supposed to talk about more than just big men. Um, well, hmmm… I don’t really know what to say. Let’s move on.


Monroe is the only true big on the roster. Charlie Villanueva, Jonas Jerebko, Jason Maxiell (and Vernon Macklin, if he makes the team) have the size to learn more of a post game, too. But if the Pistons believe Ewing’s specialty is coaching bigs, he might not have the largest effect on this team.

Plus, when Ewing coached Howard and Yao, they were at an age most players improve. How much did Ewing help them, and how much was he just along for the ride?

As far as other positions, like I wrote above, Ewing doesn’t really have an established track record.

Ewing never struck me as a particularly smart player (not that he struck as a stupid player, by any means). He just never stood above the fray.

Did Ewing get an interview only because Tom Gores advisor and former Knicks president Dave Checketts pushed for one, or because Joe Dumars believes Ewing might be the best coach available? If it’s the former and not the latter, the Pistons have no business hiring Ewing.


Ewing seems to think teams have an agenda against him. That may or may not be the case. Maybe he’s just not that good of a coach.

He’s clearly worked hard to position himself to at least draw consideration for head-coaching openings, serving seven years as an assistant. I have no problem with the Pistons interviewing him. In fact, it can only help to cover your bases and make another friend. I imagine Ewing is grateful for the opportunity to interview.

I doubt the Pistons will hire him, but if they do, that would signal he’s a better candidate than he appears to me. At that point, he would’ve beaten some very legitimate candidates for the job.

Still, I can’t see Ewing becoming Detroit’s head coach. If the Pistons hire an Xs -and-Os coach like Lawrence Frank, Ewing might make sense as an assistant. If they hire someone like Bill Laimbeer, Ewing wouldn’t complement him as an assistant.



  • Jun 28, 20111:38 pm
    by detroitpcb


    are you guys going to come out with your pick for the coaching hire?

  • Jun 28, 20112:18 pm
    by Laser


    i think the biggest pro he has going is the fact that he’s Patrick Ewing, for whatever that’s worth. he’s a hall of famer and a household name. he should command respect from day one by simply being who he is, and i think commanding respect is one of the most important prerequisites for doing this job.

    of course, it’s important how adept he is at actually coaching, but he’s the one candidate they’ve interviewed who’s sure to have a decent window with which to earn that respect or lose it.

    if it came down to a coin-flip between ewing and another candidate or two, i’d give him the nod simply for the fact that nobody on this roster has done enough in his career not to give ewing a chance.

  • Jun 28, 20113:09 pm
    by Gareth


    Can I just say that the only difference between Laimbeer and Ewing as a coach is that one is a Pistons legend and one is not. Therefore we have no business hiring either at this point…

    (PS please dont bring up WNBA titles as a difference maker)

    • Jun 28, 20114:21 pm
      by Reaction


      Actually they are several significant differences and yes I will bring up WNBA titles since they should stand for something unless you are an ignorant buffoon. Ewing has been an assistant coach for several years more than most. Laimbeer was a successful WNBA coach and also he is the reason why Kevin Love has improved so drastically. 

      Btw I’m just waiting for the Coach Calipari Dreams thread :P  Even though he hasn’t been looked at yet

    • Jun 28, 20116:31 pm
      by Jason


      How in the world someone can say “Don’t bring up WNBA titles”, is completely beyond me.. It shows he had the ability to manage a team, and take them to the promise land – not once, not twice, but three times. He took that team from the WORST in the league, to the BEST in his first season.. How is this not something you consider??
      It’s like suggesting the past history of ANY coaching candidate is irrelevant.. How do you think coaches get to where NBA status? Many start in college, even high school – work their way up from position to position, gaining experience along the way. NO ONE is suggesting that WNBA is anything remotely similar to NBA, but the fact remains – he was able to manage a team, and lead them to multiple championships, by…. COACHING!
      I’ve also heard critics here say “He had loads of talent on the Shock”.”. How in the world is that a fair criticism either?? That’s like saying Phil Jackson and Red Auerbach aren’t some of the best coaches of all time… Because they had “Loads of talent..”
      What separates them from the rest is that they were to take talented teams (Which usually means teams filled with ego’s..), and coach/manage them to multiple championships… If ANYTHING, being able to take these types of teams to the promise land MULTIPLE times, is a testament to how GOOD of a coach Laimbeer really is..
      Yes he had talent, but it takes a GREAT coach to keep the players focused, and determined to win another final. And he did that brilliantly.. I’d say his WNBA experience has EVERYTHING to do with why so many Pistons fans want to see him as our next coach..

  • Jun 28, 20117:13 pm
    by jake the snake


    my vote is for lambeer…  unless we can get an elite nba coach, which we cant.  lambeer actually has some potential to be better than these other coaches that we are looking at, which it seems none of them even have a career winning record.  worst case scenario, we go with lambeer for a few years and then we try to hire a larry brown type coach.  bc we are definately going to be in the playoffs in the next couple of years, and a good coach may actually want to come to detroit at that point

  • Jun 29, 20117:25 am
    by Murph


    I never thought Ewing was the sharpest tool in the shed, at least based on the way he played basketball.  Unlike Laimbeer, Ewing had all the physical talent in the world.  Yet it was frustrating watching him resort to fade away jump shots year after year, while never passing the ball out of the post.

    It seems that unlike Laimbeer who got the absolute most out of his limited physical talent, Ewing was not all that smart of a ball player.  Ewing was never all that articulate either.  Just my impression…

    I’m not sure how that might translate into head coaching in the NBA. However, given a choice between an all time great Pistons, and an all time great Knick, I’d go with the Piston every time…not even a question.

    That said, my guess is that the nest Piston head coach will be Mike Woodson.

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