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Nate McMillan front-runner to become Pistons’ next coach

Mitch Lawrence of the New York Daily News:

Former Portland and Seattle coach Nate McMillan has emerged as the front-runner to replace the fired Lawrence Frank and become the new head coach of the Detroit Pistons, according to sources familiar with Detroit’s plans.

The Pistons want to hire a proven head coach and are targeting McMillan

Nate McMillan would be a very satisfying choice – if  he doesn’t get too much say in personnel decisions.

McMillan has proven himself to be an excellent overseer of a roster, but he’s also proven himself a coach, like many, with a strong preference for veterans. I think he would do a good job teaching the Pistons’ young talent, as long as he doesn’t have the option of playing steadier veterans. McMillan developed young talent with the Trail Blazers. He just preferred to dump it for more immediate help.

The Pistons can’t simply hire McMillan and declare all is well now, but if they create the right environment for him to work, he very well could be the best option available.

130 Comments

  • Apr 23, 20136:08 am
    by Gareth Masters

    Reply

    Does he have a preferred “style” of play? What’s his calling card as it were.

    • Apr 23, 20137:34 am
      by oats

      Reply

      The short answer is slow and deliberate.
       
      He preaches “play early or play late.” The idea is try for a fast break at first, but if it isn’t there then reset and take your time running your offense. In Portland that meant working an inside out game with Aldridge and Roy. In Seattle he just took a long time running sets but they took lots of 3s. He also coached Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis in Seattle, and that might have something to do with them shooting so many 3s. It should be noted that Roy was allowed to utilize his dribble penetration game, so McMillan does seem willing to mold his system around the strengths of his players.
       
      Part of this grind it out mindset is that he likes point guards that take care of the ball. McMillan will want Calderon back, and he probably would want to end the Brandon Knight at point guard experiment all together. He also preaches defense, but the real reason for the slow play is that he likes taking full advantage of the clock to get good looks. He really won’t rush anything and he demands patience from his players.
       
      It should be noted that he also worked with Coach K on the national team, so he might be a little more open to emphasizing that initial fast break than he used to be. I’d hope that would speed up his system to the 20-25th fastest paced team. Not exactly fast, but he is still Nate McMillan. His Seattle teams were usually ranked bottom five and his Portland teams were often in the bottom 2 in pace. There is a reason for that short answer.
       
      If he gets the job in Detroit, expect grind it out half court basketball that emphasizes the big men. You’ll see lots of entry passes to Monroe. I’d expect the team to find shooters along the perimeter, but I expected that anyways. The McMillan system can get pretty ugly, but it also tends to be pretty effective.

      • Apr 23, 20138:30 am
        by Vic

        Reply

        BIGS and 3′S and TRUE PG’S????!!!!!

        Tell Gores I’ll contribute to his salary. Hire him now.

        But seriously that sounds like a custom fit for the Moose and the Brahma Bull… And the most important draft opportunities:
        Porter 
        Mclemore
        Oladipo 
        Burke
        Nate Wolters
        Adriean Payne 

        • Apr 23, 201311:18 am
          by Chris N

          Reply

          I don’t believe that Payne has announced that he’s entering the draft.

          • Apr 23, 201312:15 pm
            by G

            Aha, but he hasn’t announced that he’s NOT entering the draft, so… Yeah, he’s probably going back to school.

      • Apr 23, 20139:28 am
        by G

        Reply

        Problems with his offense – it would grow stagnant, especially in the playoffs. He’s also been criticized for lack of in-game adjustments.

        All in all, he’s a solid coach and runs a good system. I think he’s probably equal to Flip, except he’ll get better respect from the players. It remains to be seen whether or not he’s gotten more flexible with his game plan.

        • Apr 23, 20139:44 am
          by vic

          Reply

          In other words, he would either need a talented true point guard or a talented scoring wing to succeed in the playoffs.

          Thats doable:
          Calderon – fa
          Burke – round 1
          Nate Wolters- round 2
          Tyreke Evans – fa

          • Apr 23, 20139:49 am
            by G

            Not Evans. Tyreke Evans would drive McMillan nuts, there’s no way the Pistons target him if Nate has any say in personnel matters.

        • Apr 23, 201311:45 am
          by frankie d

          Reply

          oats’ description of nate’s coaching style is very solid and accurate.
          i’ve actually watched nate up close for over a decade now.  moved to seattle in ’01, his first year in seattle.  moved from seattle to portland late ’03 and 2 seasons later, nate took over in seattle.
          have always been a pistons’ fan, first and foremost, but i adopted first the sonics and then the trailblazers as my secondary teams, as i always end up watching and sort of rooting for the local team.
          so i’ve seen the vast majority of the games he’s coached in his career.
          his teams play a lot like larry brown’s pistons used to play.  the emphasis is always defense, and he kind of expects the offense to do just enough to win the game.  and, yes, just like with larry brown’s teams, the games can get pretty ugly at times, as his teams grind it out and muck it up and scrap and scrape for every good shot they can manufacture.  
          he is sort of like george karl, also, his old seattle coach, in that he can adjust his team’s way of attacking, offensively, depending on his players.
          for instance, his best years in portland involved two very different point guards.  one year, he had steve blake as his starting point guard. (though brandon roy would essentially take over that role in most 4th quarters.)  the next year, andre miller ran the point for him.  you could not imagine two point guards who were more different – blake was the ultimate game manager, while miller is like a power forward playing the point – but they won a bunch of games with both guys and mcmillan tweaked his offense to accomodate those two guys.  (mcmillan also was able to manage an inherent conflict as both roy and miller desperately needed and wanted to play with the ball in their hands.  roy is almost stuckey-like in that regard, though his ability to shoot allowed him to play off the ball more comfortably than stuckey has been able to do.) 
          so, yes, he tends to be a little stodgy and somewhat predictable, offensively, but i think that is cold calculation on his part.  he is just playing that way because he thinks it is the best way for him to get to a win.  
          defense, taking care of the ball, and playing within your prescribed role in the offense are the things that keep a player on the court or will get you a quick seat on the bench, if you fail to do those things.
          two things will change immediately, if he takes over.
          first, the team will establish a recognizable style of play within about 20 games or so.  one of the damning things about frank’s tenure is that you could never identify just what type of team he was supposedly building.  frank’s pistons had no identity.  mcmillan’s pistons will quickly develop one and it will be very consistent all season.    his teams play a certain way and that is the way they will play for all 82 games.
          also, i’d bet that we’ll see no more of those ridiculous blowouts that became a regular feature of frank’s pistons.  only in the last couple of months in portland did anything of that sort ever happen with nate’s teams and that was a clear sign that he’d lost his team.  (ironically, some of the main problem children were vets like raymond felton and jamal crawford, guys that nate seemed to prefer at the expense of some of the young players who stewed on the bench.)  but nate’s teams always give an honest effort every night and if the team doesn’t show up on a particular night, it is so unusual that it is almost shocking.
          just one more hope that may or may not play out…
          i think he could have an extremely positive impact on both stuckey and knight.
          nate’s career was somewhat unusual. when he first came to the sonics, he was their starting point guard, averaging big assist numbers -8 and 9 per game.  then the sonics drafted gary payton and nate had to reinvent himself as a combo guard who came off the bench.  despite that change, he still was the most popular sonic and to this day is regarded as mr. supersonic.
          his own experience, and his ability to reach young guys and teach young guards, could help knight immensely.  also, because of his seattle ties, and the fact that his son, jemelle,  is only a few years younger than stuckey,  i’d bet that he has known stuckey, a seattle kid, for quite some time.  he may be able to get more out of stuckey also, because of a personal connection.  if nothing else, if he could tap into stuckey’s defensive potential, and help turn him into the kind of defender he shows hints of being, one of detroit’s bigger problems – the lack of a good/excellent defender at the SG – could be solved without having to do anything.
          (that may or may not be a factor.  both jamal crawford and martell webster were guys he knew from seattle and both those players did not do so well playing for him.)
          all in all, mcmillan is a very good choice for the team and my only hesitation is his clear tendency to be extremely hard on young players and to prefer vets over young guys who haven’t quite figured things out.  but, then, he is not unusual in that regard.   
          and i hope joe moves quickly before the entire sacramento/seattle drama is decided.  i have a feeling that nate would much prefer staying in seattle if he actually has a choice. 

          • Apr 23, 201311:46 am
            by frankie d

            should have said that nate took over in portland a couple of years after i left seattle.

      • Apr 23, 201312:19 pm
        by sebastian

        Reply

        Oats, you may want Calderon back, but trust me Gores, Joe, and Nate will not want Calderon to return.

        • Apr 23, 201312:28 pm
          by G

          Reply

          Why should we trust you? Don’t you want Isiah to coach this team or something like that?

          • Apr 23, 201312:30 pm
            by sebastian

            Yes, “G’. I do want Zeke to coach OUR Pistons. But, I’m good with either Nate, Avery, or Lionel Hollins, too.

          • Apr 23, 20131:44 pm
            by G

            I’d check out Isiah only after getting turned down by every current NBA assistant, any former HC who lost his job in the last 4 years, any of the NCAA men’s and women’s coaches (except Rick Barnes), and several Euro-league coaches. If none of them want the job, then maybe I ask Isiah.

            In other words, Isiah is a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad coach. 

          • Apr 23, 20131:46 pm
            by G

            In other words, I trust your opinion less than I trust the bleacher report’s opinion. There. It’s happened.

          • Apr 23, 20132:09 pm
            by sebastian

            Yo, “G”, you are a funny dude. The only person, died or alive, that you only would hire Zeke before is Rick Barnes. Now, that sounds pretty dam(n) bad for my man, Isiah. Barnes is indeed a terrible coach.
            I wonder what you would do if Isiah Lord Thomas III was hired as the next Pistons Head Coach.
             

          • Apr 23, 20132:32 pm
            by G

            Start marking off the days until he and Joe D both get fired. That and get ready for the Pistons to end up with yet another lottery pick.

            It’s weird because the other guys you mentioned are pretty good coaches. Avery I don’t like for reasons that have little to do with basketball knowledge, but Isiah… he’s made every team he’s coached worse. Indiana, NY and FIU were all worse for having him. As a decision maker, he also tanked the CBA, the Raptors and the Knicks.

          • Apr 23, 20132:35 pm
            by G

            Are you familiar with the tale of the scorpion and the frog? Well Isiah’s nature is to eff things up, and if we hire him we only have ourselves to blame.

          • Apr 23, 20135:45 pm
            by Anthony J

            I agree with G on this one. Isiah Thomas SHOULD NOT be our HC. Is he a Piston legend? Sure but that doesn’t give him an automatic approval from the organization to be HC. At least Laimbeer had some form of success as a HC despite it being in the WNBA so I can understand people wanting Laimb but Thomas has PROVEN that coaching is not his calling.

        • Apr 23, 20133:13 pm
          by oats

          Reply

          Everything about Nate says he’d want Calderon. He likes veterans, he likes half court basketball, he likes 3 point shooters, and he likes point guards that don’t turn it over. Nate will want Calderon, and I feel very comfortable making that projection. I can’t say he gets him, but I guarantee he will have him as one of his top priorities this off season and as the point guard he most wants to get. It should also be noted that every time he talks about Calderon, Dumars has mentioned wanting him back. If Nate is the coach and has any personnel say I’d expect the team to go hard after Jose.

  • Apr 23, 20136:27 am
    by pistonsPoland

    Reply

    GREAAAAAt news!

  • Apr 23, 20136:50 am
    by Domnick

    Reply

    wow good luck and im happy that he’s going to be our coach..

  • Apr 23, 20137:05 am
    by Gareth Masters

    Reply

    I’d imagine Chris Hansen and the Seattle group have their eye on him, were they to be successful in shifting the Kings. If we want him, we should get it tied up before they have a chance to.

  • Apr 23, 20137:12 am
    by Daniel

    Reply

    I lived in Portland when he was coaching the Blazers, and word of caution, he does have a reputation for running a pretty stagnant offense.  It was one of the main reason’s why Portland let him go.  That being said, I still think he’d be a solid choice for the Pistons.

  • Apr 23, 20137:16 am
    by vic

    Reply

    Id Be Satisfied With Him. Not As Exciting As Lamb, SVG Or Zelly… But After ReadUng A Little Bit About Him I Think Hes Above Replacement Level And Would Maximize The Talent Available. 

  • Apr 23, 20137:27 am
    by gmehl

    Reply

    Just because he’s the front runner doesn’t mean he’s got/taken the job yet. He might have other options that might be more appealing to him especially if he doesn’t get the money or level personnel decision making he wants.

  • Apr 23, 20137:32 am
    by deusXango

    Reply

    Things soured in Portland, and he was let go; like a dedicated pro he stepped back, invested time among his peers, in the head coaching ranks, and learned to become a better all around coach in the 21st century, and now he’s ready to go. He’s a great choice, providing we hire him, and I applaud Dumars planned efforts. I’m curious about the staff he’ll put together. 

  • Apr 23, 20138:13 am
    by matt

    Reply

    I think he’s a solid choice. And shouldn’t we be playing slow-down, grind it out b-ball? We have some players who would thrive in an up-tempo system but the best bet is to maximize Monroe and Drummond inside. Sounds like a half-court team to me. Resign Calderon, put everyone else on the block. Need shooters and ball-handlers.

  • Apr 23, 20138:17 am
    by DasMark

    Reply

    There isn’t a “perfect fit” coach out there for this team, because it will take more than a new coach to right the ship. 

    But, McMillan is certainly a better choice than a lot of the names thrown around here. The elongated post about McMillan’s style is a perfect summation of his approach to coaching.  

  • Apr 23, 20138:39 am
    by Victor

    Reply

    It’s him or Obradovic! Can you hear that Mr. Gores? Nate or Zelly… No other, Unless ur able to sign Phil Jackson!

  • Apr 23, 20138:44 am
    by Ryank

    Reply

    With our current roster, any coach is going to have his hands full.  Larry Brown or Pop would be the best coaches giving what we have…this team needs to be strong armed and they have a problem with authority.  LB could come in and they would respect him enough to learn and follow instructions. 
     
    Pound the ball inside!  That’s Larry Brown’s style and it plays to our strength…the ball needs to be in Monroe’s hands in the post every time down the floor until the defense adjusts to open up the perimeter.  Then you’ll ball movement that we haven’t seen since the team was clicking 2004-2006. 

  • Apr 23, 20138:59 am
    by ryan

    Reply

    Oats summation of Nate McMillan’s coaching style matches my perception very well. If I were Joe Dumars and I was doing the hiring I would say. “Nate we want you hear and we want you to be here for a long time we’re looking to build a system and a culture and we believe you can be a huge part of that. I have two questions for you. Can you take your lumps with these kids and help them grow? Can you open up your offense to take advantage of our young legs? If you can do those two things lets get a contract signed and talk about the draft.”

  • Apr 23, 20139:36 am
    by tarsier

    Reply

    I’m actually concerned about McMillan’s ability as a defensive coach. Yeah, he gets low scores by playing slowly. But in spite of having had some decent defenders on his teams, he’s never coached a particularly good defensive team.

    • Apr 23, 20139:40 am
      by G

      Reply

      Has he ever had any truly good defensive players? Ray Allen, while underrated defensively, was no whiz kid. Rashard Lewis was terrible, Aldrige, Randolph, Roy wasn’t that good… I think he’s done pretty well with poor defenders.

      • Apr 23, 20139:47 am
        by Victor

        Reply

        most of times I agree with what tarsier writes. This time I’m with G though.

      • Apr 23, 20139:52 am
        by gmehl

        Reply

        I’m with G on this one tasier. You gotta remember that McMillan lost the 2 corner stones of his team (Roy & Oden) within a couple of years of each other. He had to sting what little he had together to make that team competitive.

      • Apr 23, 201310:33 am
        by Keith

        Reply

        I have to agree with Tarsier here. Aldridge is actually a pretty darn good defender. He would float on the perimeter on offense, but he is long and athletic and for several years rated as one of the best big men defenders in the league. Sure, Roy went down, that that was more offensive than defensive. Oden isn’t really a fair point to use since he was never healthy and the team never really had to adjust to him being on the floor. They also had defensive stalwart (old but still very effective) Marcus Camby.
         
        He runs a very effective offensive system, and a slow one which Joe D seems to love. But, there are very real questions about his defensive acumen.

        • Apr 23, 201310:43 am
          by G

          Reply

          CAMBY??? Camby was WAY past his prime at that point, and how many games & minutes did he actually play in Portland? Not that much. Aldridge is ok, but he’s not a stopper. Gerald Wallace was passed his prime by the time Portland got him.

          Name one in-his-prime defensive stopper that played for McMillan. One. All good defensive teams need at least that. McMillan coached a bunch of sieves and they finished ok defensively.

          • Apr 23, 201311:56 am
            by frankie d

            the blazers’ defensive success was definitely a result of the system.  
            the team defensive concept was foremost.
            and the offensive emphasis on a slow pace and minimizing turnovers.  that was one thing that was intolerable for him.  if a player – especially young players – proved to be turnover-prone, he was going to have a rough time under nate.  

          • Apr 23, 201312:03 pm
            by G

            In other words – Brandon Knight, watch out.

          • Apr 23, 201312:14 pm
            by frankie d

            i’m actually hoping that he can actually provide some good coaching for knight.  while he is not quite as hard on point guards as larry brown, you can definitely tell that he works a lot with his guards, especially his point guards. 
            he’s gotten good years out of guys like luke ridenour and antonio mcdaniels and flip murray, jarrett jack, steve blake  and, of course, brandon roy.  (roy was a combo guard, but in 4th quarters he handled the ball almost every possession.)  there is definitely going to be a come to jesus moment for knight with mcmillan about ball security.  but i am hoping that knight will respond positively.

          • Apr 23, 201312:14 pm
            by Keith

            A couple things need to be clarified here.
             
            First, Camby played 30, 26, and 22 mpg in his three years. playing 23 (post trade to Portland), 59, and 40 (prior to mid-season trade to Houston) games each year. He was a very significant part of the rotation.
             
            Second, even past his prime, he was by every measure still an elite defender and rebounder. The whole reason Portland traded for him was because Oden couldn’t stay healthy and they wanted to keep Aldridge at PF. Camby absolutely anchored that defense as well as just about anyone at the time. Saying he was past his prime completely ignores his actual impact on the game.
             
            Third, Aldridge is incredibly underrated as a defender. Consider just his Hollinger analysis: http://insider.espn.go.com/nba/player/hollinger/_/id/2983/lamarcus-aldridge . If you go back to 2011, there were a number of articles extolling the virtues of Aldridge’s defense, how he just shuts down the pick and roll, and can switch onto anybody.
             
            Fourth, defenders don’t have to be in their prime to be great. Defense generally improves over time for entire careers, because it’s more about anticipating the offense and getting in position than running all over the court as fast as you can. The Spurs don’t have an in-their-prime defensive anchor, they have Tim Duncan. The Thunder rely on Kendrick Perkins, who hasn’t had a prime thanks to two separate knee surgeries robbing him of all athleticism. Boston’s anchor is a well-past-his-prime Garnett. You’re statement is patently false.
             
            Portland was never filled with sieves, and was very average. In fact, they often had multiple high end defenders (Aldridge, Camby, Wallace). If you look at their team defensive ranking each year, they ONLY had good defensive numbers when Oden or Camby were playing. Otherwise, they were terrible. Given Oden and Camby were the elite of elite in defense, how is McMillan’s defensive acumen NOT questionable? That’s like saying a coach is only responsible for defense when he has Dwight anchoring the paint. For all the offensive comparables, Drummond is not an elite defender yet, and I think it’s fair to ask whether McMillan is the guy to get him there (and the team as a whole).
             
            Don’t get me wrong, I like McMillan as a candidate, but it would be foolish to build him up as some two-way panacea, when the reality is more that he fits us offensively and we probably still need a strong defensive assistant (how I would love to steal Ron Adams from Chicago).

          • Apr 23, 201312:53 pm
            by frankie d

            what defensive numbers are you referring to?  
            i haven’t really gotten deeply into the numbers, but for most of nate’s portland career – after the first couple of  years – their rating seemed to be pretty consistent.
            you are correct about camby in the sense that he was still an excellent defender during his time in portland.  (for the time he spent on the court.  he missed a lot of time to injury while he was here.)  in fact, he was so good defensively, the rose garden crowds sometimes broke into spontaneous chants of “marcus cam-by” as recognition of his defensive prowess.  
            oden was also excellent.
            i’ve never been as big an aldridge fan as are many statheads like hollinger.  yes, he had the length and mobility to defend well, but, for me, the bottom line with aldridge is that he can be muscled easily and if a PF or C ever simply went at him directly and forcefully, aldridge was a total zero.  he is one of the softest big guys in the league and when team targeted him physically, he would disappear.  so his defensive effectiveness always carried an asterick: as long as you don’t attack him with force.
            jarrett jack was a good defender.  so was blake, who was more of a pesky defender.  dante cunningham – while he was in portland – was a good defender.  wes matthews also, although he is not a physically gifted defender.  gerald wallace played less than a year under mcmillan and he was a shadow of himself, definitely not the physical force he’d been earlier in his career.  batum is a gifted defender, though his play was up and down, defensively.  ( which was one reason his minutes under nate fluctuated so much.)
            roy was a pretty poor individual defender, though he bought into the team concept and performed well in the system.  martell webster and travis outlaw and  sergio rodriguez and rudy fernandez were also substandard.
            you forgot one of the best defenders on those portland teams: joel pryzbilla.  before he blew out his knee, he was actually a better defender than oden.   he was big, mobile and he had a huge mean streak.  he was one of the most underrated defensive big men in the league.
            i guess what i am saying is that he’s had a few very good defenders over the  years – jack, matthews, camby, pryzbilla, maybe you can count oden – but for the most part, he’s had to mix and match and stitch together defensive teams out of guys who’ve come and gone over the years.  that, to me indicates a good defensive coach, as good defensive teams always result from a team playing a coordinated style and system, not from just throwing a bunch of great defenders out on the court. (indiana is probably the best example of that fact.  who would have imagined that hibbert would be the hub of the league’s best defensive team, when he came out of g-town?)
            when the portland teams went through those insane year where they had something like 300 games lost to injury, the team still maintained its identity as he shuffled guys in and out of the lineup and still made the playoffs.  
            again, that is pure coaching.
            he definitely reminds me of larry brown in that his defense is his constant, and the offense is essentially designed to let his defense win games for him. 

          • Apr 23, 20131:00 pm
            by G

            @Keith – Camby played PARTS of 3 seasons – 23 games in 2010, 59 games in 2011 and 40 games in 2012. He also only played 3,152 minutes over those 3 years, which is less than Damian Lillard played this year alone. He was still a good defender but no longer elite, not even close. 

            Yeah, he also had Gerald Wallace, who was still good but clearly past his prime. How many games did he have Wallace for? 23 games in 2011 and 42 in 2012.

            The Thunder rely on Kendrick Perkins? Really? What about Thabo Sefolosha and Serge Ibaka? Btw, Perk now is a better defender than Camby was for McMillan.

             As far as your point goes about the other players playing good D only when the team’s best defender was on the floor… what is your point exactly? Pick a team, that’s always the case. McMillan’s teams regularly finished in the middle of the NBA in the “four factors” for defense, despite featuring 1, maybe 2 good defenders and no elite defenders. I’d say that’s roughly equivalent to SVG running the top D in the country with Dwight and 4 losers.

          • Apr 23, 20131:14 pm
            by G

            @ frankie d
            When were Jack and Blake good defenders? Ever? Admittedly I haven’t seen much of them, but everything I read & every stat suggests mediocre to poor. Both of them have defensive ratings on a Kyle Singler level. Same with Wes Matthews and Cunningham, who only played 1800 minutes in 2 seasons. Pryzbilla never saw the court much, but most of his defensive prowess was predicated on his rebounding.

            The last good Pistons team (2007-’08) had 4-5 guys better than any of them, and that was without Ben Wallace.  

          • Apr 23, 20131:38 pm
            by frankie d

            ok G, perhaps i was being too generous with both of those guys. 
            i think a better description would be that they were both very responsible defenders.
            kind of like damien wilkins when he played for the pistons.  or maxiell.
            when you watch them and look at video, they are both always in the right position.  they are where they should be in the defensive scheme.  but they often simply could not stop their man, regardless.  which is what happens with maxiell often and what used to happen with wilkins.  same thing that happens with tay often now.
            both cunningham and matthews are somewhat the same way, although both of those players are physically tougher and often are able to defend competently simply because of their strength.  both guys – as is jack – are tweeners, and they often find themselves in mismatches because of that.
            matthews, cunningham and blake were also very similar because they just pestered the heck out of the guy they guarded.  all 3 are the types of players who would stick to their man if he went to the bathroom.
            and when i say very good defenders, i guess i mean that they were very responsible, very attentive to their duties and that they carried them out as well as they could.
            (mcmillan loved blake, to the consternation of portland fans who always wanted blake to be benched.  but it was easy to see that mcmillan loved blake because he was so responsible defensively, because the coach could always count on him to play his role in the system and to play it as well as he could.)
            disagree about pryzbilla.  of his 6 years in portland, 3 of those years he played significantly, and the others were all cut way short because of injury.  and while his rebounding definitely was his forte, he was also a very unique big guy.  he was much quicker than most people gave him credit for, and he was able to cover a lot of territory in the lane.  plus, he was just a tough guy who did not hesitate to body up guys and physically punish them and throw his body around in the paint.  you could literally see other players move away from him because of his reckless play. his nickname here was the “vanilla gorilla”.  he was a real physical force when he was healthy and, again, one of the most underrated big man defenders in the league. 
            when he was a free agent and signed with portland, detroit was his second choice.   always wondered what would have happened if he’d signed with detroit instead.
            and you are mostly right about the old pistons team.  i would argue, however that matthews, if only because of his strength, is probably a better defender than rip was.  but that has more to do with detroit’s excellence.
            and my main point stands and is not that far from your point: mcmillan built a strong, consistent system with defensive players who were not all that great.  yes, he had a few guys who were above average, but on the whole, he had an admirably effective defense with a bunch of not-so-great individual defenders.
             

          • Apr 23, 20131:43 pm
            by Keith

            G, you are kidding yourself if you don’t think Camby was still an elite defender. And you are giving almost no credit where credit is obviously due (Wallace, Aldridge). The fact is Portland had average to above average overall personnel, and an elite defensive C for 4 years (Count Oden and Camby together and it fills almost the whole 4 years). Despite that, he had very average defensive teams. Comparing it to the Dwight Magic should be an indictment. SVG had a top defense with one elite C and scrubs. McMillan had a barely above average defense with an elite C and above average defensive teammates.

          • Apr 23, 20132:11 pm
            by G

            @ frankie d – I think we agee, I’m basically saying all those guys were at Singler’s level, which is to say that they wouldn’t kill you defensively, but they didn’t add much.

            @ Keith – you clearly don’t know what you’re talking about. Oden played for about 1300 minutes in the 2009 season, which was the year before Camby came over. He then played 502 minutes in 21 games the next season, going down for good in December. Camby came over in February and played in 23 games. They hardly overlapped.

            You’re clearly falling in love with Hollinger’s analysis of Aldridge’s D. If you look carefully, he says Aldridge’s D is “underrated”. He never says it’s good. Gerald Wallace played parts of 2 seasons in Portland (65 games, 2324 minutes), and he WAS a shadow of his former self, despite what you seem to think. 

            Btw, McMillan’s best defensive team (the ’09 team, which finished 13th in D rating) had a set of defenders comparable to this Pistons team. Who is the elite C you’re talking about? Camby? Camby played less than 30 min a game & was about as effective defensively as Perkins is now. Dwight was elite in Orlando, Camby wasn’t in Portland. 

        • Apr 23, 201310:51 am
          by G

          Reply

          And don’t say Payton. Like Tayshaun, GP’s defensive reputation was established in the first half of his career, and the second half was pretty average. McMillan started coaching him after GP had already put in 10 years.

      • Apr 23, 20131:12 pm
        by tarsier

        Reply

        I don’t think he is a terrible defensive coach. But Roy, Aldridge, Camby, Randolph, Batum, Matthews, Ratliff, Pryzbilla, and Wallace were all at least above average on that end. Oden only played a total of one season spread out over several years, but he was a big time plus on the defensive end. And the teams were never special defensively. And he never had to deal with having a special offensive talent who just happened to be a sieve (Nash, Melo, Jefferson, Lee) in Portland either.

        He coached in Portland 2005-2012 and the finished in defensive rating:
        28th
        26th
        17th
        13th
        15th
        14th
        23rd

        So he maxed out at slightly above average. And was often well below average. For a guy with only decent offensive acumen (he runs basics well but lacks creativity), I want more on the defensive end.

        If Detroit settled on McMillan after striking out with someone better or making an extensive search and deciding there aren’t any candidates who look like they could be special coaches, I’d be okay with that. But I don’t like McMillan at all as a right-off-the-bat favorite for the job.

        • Apr 23, 20131:35 pm
          by Keith

          Reply

          Thanks, tarsier. I wanted to post the defensive ratings myself but felt like my post was already too long.

        • Apr 23, 20131:38 pm
          by Keith

          Reply

          And take a look at those numbers compared to personnel. They jump out of the 20s with 61 games of Oden. After Oden went down with injury they picked up Camby, who was the anchor defender for the 13, 15, and 14 rankings. Once Portland traded Camby, they fell right back out of the top 20. McMillan is a good offensive coach, especially with a couple playmakers. BUT, he’s been merely average defensively at best, and only when he had an elite defensive C manning the paint.

        • Apr 23, 20131:51 pm
          by frankie d

          Reply

          roy was a sieve.  great offensively, but defensively, he was not good.
          that was one of the problems for portland.  he was effectively their PG, but he certainly could not guard PGs.  he couldn’t guard the more athletic SGs because of a lack of lateral mobility.
          same thing for other elite wing players.  while he tried and while he fit into his system and while he was never steve nash bad, he was always a problem for the team defensively.  there was always a question as to who he would guard, especially near the end of games when he’d assume PG duties. 

          • Apr 23, 20132:11 pm
            by tarsier

            Roy was far from a sieve. His calling card was not being exceptional at anything but being good at everything, having no holes in his game. That’s just the sort of player he was, the perfect number two guy.

          • Apr 23, 20132:14 pm
            by frankie d

            on roy, from hollinger:

            + Good size and strength, but middling defender when healthy. Awful when not. 

            http://insider.espn.go.com/nba/player/hollinger/_/id/3027/brandon-roy

            roy, unfortunately, was rarely healthy. most times he was awful, defensively. 

          • Apr 23, 20132:36 pm
            by tarsier

            During Roy’s three good years (when he was basically the league’s third best SG behind Kobe and Wade), he was typically healthy. He missed under 10 games per season.

            And Hollinger is clearly underestimating his ability. 

          • Apr 23, 20132:46 pm
            by frankie d

            number two guy? 
            who was the number one guy? 

          • Apr 23, 20133:08 pm
            by tarsier

            Portland didn’t have a number one guy. That’s why they were never a contender.

          • Apr 23, 20133:23 pm
            by G

            Ugh. This feels like a semantical argument. His top 3 years he had PERs of 19.4, 24.0 and 21.3 which would fall in the range of Serge Ibaka, Dwyane Wade, and Steph Curry this year. He was never one of the 5 best players in the league, but Roy would’ve been the #1 guy on over 20 teams in the NBA. I think that qualifies.

          • Apr 23, 20134:21 pm
            by tarsier

            It’s not really the point anyway. But yeah, he was easily good enough to be the best player on a contender. But well short of good enough to make a poor to mediocre team into a contender by his mere presence.

        • Apr 23, 20132:01 pm
          by frankie d

          Reply

          randolph was a horrible, absolutely horrid defender.
          teams would target him because of his poor defensive play.  
          he would often not even leave the paint because he would focus on rebounding and let his man shoot open jumpers from 8-10 feet.
          no doubt his defensive ratings are helped by his great rebounding – and he is one of the league’s best rebounders – but as an individual defender, he is one of the worst in the league.  
          in fact, memphis’ defensive success this year says volumes about hollins as a coach.  the fact that he’s built such a solid system with a guy like randolph in the middle of it is outstanding.
          and what you miss when you list all of those names is that most of those guys were in and out of portland and the line up.
          it was not like the old pistons, or even SA, where popovich has had a solid core of guys to build around.
          mcmillan had to plug guys in routinely because of turnover and/or injury.  and his team still played solid defense.

          • Apr 23, 20132:16 pm
            by tarsier

            Randolph’s focus lapsed. So there was that. But when he felt like it, he bullied guys… on both ends. How do you think he got all those rebounds? He was knocking people out of the paint.

            And yes, obviously the guys I listed weren’t all consistently there. The list was way too long for that. The point was that, as a unit, the team never had a below average set of players on the defensive end.

            Again, I’m not railing McMillan’s defensive acumen. Just saying that this early in the process, he doesn’t really seem good enough to justify frontrunner status.

          • Apr 23, 20132:52 pm
            by G

            Btw, I like Budenholzer LOTS better than McMillan, and I like SVG a little bit better. Just don’t discount McMillan’s defensive acumen just because he never had a top 10 D. Those Seattle teams had nobody, and it’s really hard to develop a top defense when you never get a full season out of your best defenders.

        • Apr 23, 20132:26 pm
          by G

          Reply

          According to Defensive Win Shares, the best defender on the ’05-’06 team was Pryz with 1.2 (abysmally bad), the next year was Zack Randolph with 1.9 (still terrible), then Aldridge in ’07-’08 with 2.8 (moderate, not great), then in ’08-’09 Pryz had 3.4 (which is decent), ’09-’10 was Aldridge at 3.3 (again, decent), then Aldridge again at 3.5, and the last year was Aldridge at 1.6. 

          At no point did he get anything resembling a full season out of a player with a D Rtg less than 100, although he got about 59 games out of Camby when he had a 100 D Rtg. Saying he had teams stacked with good defenders is plain ignorant.

          • Apr 23, 20132:41 pm
            by tarsier

            Who said he had teams stacked with good defenders? I maintain he had at least average outfits.

          • Apr 23, 20132:46 pm
            by G

            Keith.

            I maintain he had very sub-average defensive units, fairly similar to what Detroit had going on this year. I think McMillan could turn them into a middle of the road defense, which would be outstanding. 

    • Apr 23, 20133:53 pm
      by oats

      Reply

      @tarsier. There is something being missed in all this, Nate’s system doesn’t really require great defensive teams. With the smaller number of possessions and an offense based around taking care of the ball the game became about who can make fewer mistakes. That’s the goal. It’s actually more important to be patient and force teams in to that slow style than it is to be a great defensive club. The discipline needed to do that is tough to come by, players naturally want to run more than how Nate coaches them. But if the team speeds up there is more room for the other team to make up for their errors, and Nate’s teams always played worse at higher tempos. So while the defenses weren’t great on a points per possession metric, they were good at forcing the kind of game they wanted to play. Setting the tempo to a large extent outweighs being great defensively in McMillan’s system. 
       
      To be honest, I don’t know how much I agree with that sentiment. It is a reasonably common defense of McMillan, and there is a point there. His defenses might not be great, but he’s been pretty good at winning games with rosters that aren’t great. He’s struggled in the playoffs, but either due to bad draws or injuries his struggles seem pretty justifiable. There’s definitely a chance that Nate doesn’t have what it takes to push the team to become great, but he’s successfully handled 2 separate rebuilds. I think McMillan could be a guy to get the team respectable again. Once there we will need to look long and hard at him to determine if he can take the next step or if we have to treat him like Carlisle. Of course the problem with that is it would advance the notion that even good coaches don’t get to stay on in Detroit. That is a potential problem. Still, McMillan has to be a short list guy because he’s proven that he can build a team. I’d still prefer Budenholzer, but he might want to stay in San Antonio. I’d also prefer SVG, but Van Gundy is a popular candidate and will likely push for a decent amount of say in personnel decisions. After that I think I have Nate next, and I can live with him being the guy.

  • Apr 23, 20139:57 am
    by DG

    Reply

    Good summary Oats.  I think Nate would be a good fit for the Pistons young personnel.  Any coach in their right mind would get the ball inside first with Drummond and Monroe.  I also think that his teams are better defensively than most.  It would be interesting to see what he could do with Drummond present to send shots away from the rim.  I just hope he will be opportunistic on offense early in the shot clock.

  • Apr 23, 201310:00 am
    by Derek AKA Redeemed

    Reply

    The thing that impressed me about Nate was his ability to coach his team through adversity.  He was an anchor through the tail end of the Jailblazers regime and he at least kept the ship steady when the Blazers resembled a MASH with all their injuries to key pieces.

    The Pistons are a team in disarray with something of a shady outlook.  Perhaps Nate can inspire the team to play like hungry professionals.  While his preference is caggy vets, he still did well managing and developing some of the younger players on his team.

    Nate was a bright pg.  I think he’s a bright coach (stagnant offense notwithstanding), I imagine he’s learned from his previous mistakes.

    • Apr 23, 201310:16 am
      by gmehl

      Reply

      You know the funny thing is that Nate and Dumars were actually very similar players. Shooting guards that could handle the ball and had the ability to lock down there opposing number. Just like Joe, Nate would often get the job on Jordan.

  • Apr 23, 201310:02 am
    by Lorenzo

    Reply

    Excellent news if they can get him signed…. as a fan he is my preferred choice (unless Jerry Sloan gets the coaching itch again.). Although it is difficult to pair an ideal system with a roster that is expected to be fluid… McMillan’s (slower) system would seem to be a boon for the two big men the roster is expected to be constructed around. It also puts into focus the need for excellent point guard play….how the team views/deals with Knight this off-season will be important…it also has to be decisive. 

    • Apr 23, 201310:13 am
      by gmehl

      Reply

      I was kind of thinking that maybe the slower pace of McMillan’s offense might cut down on Knight’s turnovers. Is there anyway of finding out when in the shot clock Knight amassed most of his turnovers? I lost count of how many times he turned it over on a fast break early in the shot clock after a steal. I really don’t know if Knight was ever taught how to run a fast break properly. Surely something like that couldn’t happen with an NBA player could it.

      • Apr 24, 20132:32 am
        by Lorenzo

        Reply

        That’s interesting…I don’t know if anyone has ascertained that stat but it would be an intriguing read. Who knows you might be very well right on the turnover aspect…it always seemed to me though that Knight was a more effective scorer in a faster tempo offense but struggled with reads in half court sets. Again, just an eyeball test on that. But perhaps if McMillan comes in, Knight, would be responsible for both aspects of the game as there is a real possibility he (McMillan) might install Coach K’s version of a “hybrid” offense. Time will tell I suppose.

  • Apr 23, 201310:50 am
    by Clint in Flint

    Reply

    He is not my first choice but he sure is several steps up from the last three coaches we have had. Bring him on, I think he will do a good job.

  • Apr 23, 201310:52 am
    by The Rake

    Reply

    I don’t know. I can’t say I’m doing cartwheels if this happens, but I’d surely feel better than I did when we hired Frank (and I, like many I suspect, predicted his ultimate failure). I certainly wouldn’t want a slow, deliberate style with such a young team. But, if that translates to how Michigan played this year, who were supposedly slow paced but still a top scoring and efficiency team, then that would be fine. I would probably prefer or be more intrigued by a few other names out there, but he fits solidly in the top 4-7 options or so IMO. We’ll see how this goes. Also wonder how this might affect our drafting, if at all. Would we draft to fit his style versus what our roster needs immediately, etc. Eyes are closely following any developments.

    On an unrelated note, its funny how people rip Flip. The guy won 64 games one year for us and took us to three straight ECFs. It wasn’t like he was a bad coach by any stretch. We had a veteran team that in large part overachieved in some ways under LB. Flip is legit and its actually a shame he doesnt have a coaching gig (not saying he would fit for us for a second go by any means though).

    • Apr 23, 201310:55 am
      by G

      Reply

      Flip has no discipline in the locker room. Not just here, he basically got bounced in Washington for the same thing. Good at designing an offense, bad at being an authority figure.

      • Apr 23, 201312:34 pm
        by DetroitP

        Reply

        I currently live with my boy and hes from Baltimore, and have watched numerous Wiz Kids games.  making the call that he was a bad coach from them is just inaccurate, they are a terrible franchise as a whole (lions of basketball)  and he had legit no real skill when coaching them.  John Wall was really young then, and they had who else? RLewis?  Flip gets a bad rap

        • Apr 23, 20131:20 pm
          by G

          Reply

          *reading comprehension*
          I said Flip ran a good offense but had no respect in the locker room. Players disrespected him in the locker room, he said nothing. I know he had garbage talent to work with, that’s not what I’m saying. I’m saying Flip knows the game, but the players think he’s a punk and that won’t change.

          • Apr 23, 20131:59 pm
            by MIKEYDE248

            I think a lot of the disrespect he got was from the vets.  The Pistons are pretty void of them right now.  With the young team they have right now, that might not be as much of an issue.

          • Apr 23, 20132:27 pm
            by G

            In Washington he got it from everybody. 

          • Apr 23, 20133:33 pm
            by I HATE FRANK

            only person that gave Flip a problem was Gilbert, Gilbert was injuried for 3 consecutive seasons, in which he only played like maybe 60-70 total games.

            The Team wouldnt & couldnt move gilbert because of his contract, and they drafted poorly.

            Their Go to players became guys like Caron Butler and Jamison, Flip didnt have a young team nor a well rounded team, it was just a mess.

          • Apr 23, 20134:01 pm
            by oats

            No, he got it from pretty much everyone. Blatche, Young, Jamison, McGee, Jordan Crawford, Rashard Lewis (after Gilbert was traded), and even Wall had problems with Flip at one point or another.

  • Apr 23, 201312:18 pm
    by DetroitP

    Reply

    My question is is how much of a say do you think Joey D give him?  I think he would work wonders with Moose and Dre

  • Apr 23, 201312:19 pm
    by Thiago

    Reply

    One important thing is that the 2 coaches that are being considered (Nate and Zelly) are respected, something that Curry, Kuester and Frank were not.

     

    • Apr 23, 20132:33 pm
      by joe dumars

      Reply

      There was a locker room munity against McMillan in Portland before he got fired. Saying hes respected maybe debatable.

  • Apr 23, 201312:29 pm
    by danny

    Reply

    NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
    I think we can do better than him but again he is a step up from our current list of coaches.

  • Apr 23, 20132:29 pm
    by Mark

    Reply

    This would be a terrible hire.

  • Apr 23, 20132:43 pm
    by Mel

    Reply

    I’ve been reading the post and read some good views on here. My view is that I ‘ve been wanting McMillian since the start of the season. I wasn’t sold on him after year one. I look at McMillian at the least as a Rick Carlyle type of coach. One who will create a identity and get us going in the right direction. He will last longer than 2 years. knight and any other guards we have will benefit. Also with Moose and Drummond him coaching will be like having Aldridge and Oden again but not injured ( knock on wood). Two solid Big men playing together. Either him or this Zelly dude “Dumars”.

  • Apr 23, 20132:59 pm
    by I HATE FRANK

    Reply

    Nate will be fine, but why not try something different that pushes the envelope….

    Nate will eventually get us to the play offs, but he isnt going to change a franchise

  • Apr 23, 20133:11 pm
    by I HATE FRANK

    Reply

    Chuck Daly changed our Franchise, Rick Carisle Changed our Franchise, Doug Collins didnt really change the Franchise but he was much needed at the time…Larry Brown piggy backed off of Rick…..

    either way my point is sometimes you can get a coach that can change the course of a franchise…. We are due for one of those kinda coaches 

  • Apr 23, 20133:23 pm
    by Otis

    Reply

    This would be the only acceptable realistic candidate I can think of. I think it would be a very good hire in general and the best coach we’ve had since Brown. I could also see him surviving the season even if it’s a disaster (and let’s be realistic, given recent history “disaster” is a safe bet) and Joe finally gets the axe (like five seasons too late).

    • Apr 23, 201310:53 pm
      by DetroitP

      Reply

      I don’t understand the hate for Joe Dumars, We all know Charlie and Ben were horrible, but the whole team being sold influenced the team an immense amount.  You realize how long that went on for?  

      • Apr 24, 201312:09 am
        by oats

        Reply

        That feels like a lame excuse, and it ignores that those aren’t his only faults. He extended Rip with a contract so bad that the team is still paying him, and that was right before signing BG. Maxiell’s contract also stunk. After the sale he overpaid Prince, Stuckey, and JJ. I guess he got out of the Prince contract, but the contract was still bad. He also passed on a chance to move Prince for Caron Butler and a draft pick, which would have given Detroit something for letting Prince go instead of giving him the bad contract he eventually moved for Calderon. That pick was 26 in the 2011 draft. Jimmy Butler was pick 30 that year, so there definitely was talent on the board with that pick. Unfortunately Dumars felt that was not a good enough return and now all he got out of Prince is maybe some bargaining positioning in trying to get Calderon next season.
         
        The move to dump BG was questionable at best. The odds are good that a draft pick in next year’s draft would have more value than pushing the free cap space up only 1 year to get into this pretty weak free agent class. The two good draft picks he’s done recently were pretty obvious picks, so how much credit does he really get for Monroe and Drummond? Knight was ok I guess since he wasn’t a bust, but he clearly missed on some better prospects like Kawhi Leonard and Kenneth Faried. The Knight pick is further complicated by the fact that he was repeating the failed attempt to turn Stuckey in to a point guard instead of acknowledging that running an offense is tough set of skills for players to add if it doesn’t come naturally to them. Not all of that can be blamed on Karen Davidson, and I honestly think the ownership situation wasn’t quite as restrictive as some people make it out to be. I seriously doubt anyone was sitting next to him telling him what to do or not to do. It might have increased the difficulty of making moves, but I really don’t buy that it put an end to his ability to get something done.
         
        I’m actually in favor of Dumars keeping his job. I really am. The team now has a pair of big men to build around, a likely top 7 pick, and a bunch of cap space to help with that. In short, the team’s outlook is better than it has been for awhile. The Prince trade even suggests he is finally starting to see what was going wrong before, over committing to players that aren’t corner stone guys. I also think there is enough that he did poorly to justify firing him. I’m not on that side of the fence, but I definitely understand why a lot of people are.

      • Apr 24, 20131:04 am
        by Otis

        Reply

        This excuse is ridiculous. So the team was up for sale, what did that prevent? What moves would Joe have made given complete freedom?? Who was going to take Ben Gordon off our hands? Or Charlie or Rip? The team was for sale for something like 2 years, the same amount of time Joe has had freedom to deal under new ownership… so what happened when new ownership took the “shackles” off? Let’s see…
         
        They paid Rip most of his salary (counting against the cap, of course) to go away. They had to attach what will likely be a VERY valuable first round pick to get Charlotte to take Ben Gordon’s awful contract. They’re still sitting on Charlie V’s sorry contract. So, given that these were all admittedly AWFUL contracts, and the ownership transition really just took time off of those bad contracts and made them less horrible, but once his hands were untied… nothing. Just pay penalties to sweep them under a rug. And in free agency, what does Dumars do? Well gosh, he just brings back his own free agents (JJ, Tay, Stuck). So he takes a team that’s proven to be bad and essentially kept it entirely intact. Right. Damn Karen Davidson! Keeping the team from… from… oh wait.
         
        The ONLY shackles that matter are the ones Joe put on the team by making horrendous and inexcusable personnel decisions. Locking Rip up for four years and Gordon up for five years AT THE SAME TIME, at contracts that averaged like 12.5 million bucks EACH. PER YEAR. ON THE SAME ROSTER. Two streaky volume shooting guards eating up half our cap space, with no point guard to get them the ball. HOW DID THIS PLAN FAIL? Then add Charlie’s contract and you have like $32 million per year FOR MANY YEARS going to three of your least valuable players. I’m bored explaining this to people who refuse to think for themselves. Stop making excuses for a man who’s been the absolute pits for nearly a decade.

  • Apr 23, 20133:45 pm
    by Mark

    Reply

    The McMillan lovefest in here is mind-boggling. You all are going gaga over a .500 coach with a history of playoff failure. 

    Might as well hire Don Nelson. At least he will win you a lot of regular season games and get your hopes up before getting you bounced early in the playoffs! LOL 

    • Apr 23, 20133:57 pm
      by oats

      Reply

      We’re excited for a coach that had not one, but 2 successful rebuilds. He did so with situations far worse than the one Detroit is currently in. He may have struggled in the playoffs, but he had legitimate reasons to struggle in the playoffs. His rosters weren’t that great, he often had to deal with injuries, and he often got lined up with one of the teams that were in the conference finals or even went on to win it all. His playoff resume is not nearly as bad as you are making it sound if you actually look at the match ups he had. Even if all he does is rebuild it to the point where they are a consistent playoff team but he has to be fired because he can’t get over the hump, what is so bad about that scenario exactly?

      • Apr 23, 20134:46 pm
        by Mark

        Reply

        You say he successfully rebuilt 2 teams. Except POR is a lottery team today. And SEA had to fire him and bottom out to get Durant, move to OKC and then hire Scott Brooks before achieving their success today. 

        I fail to see what great position he put either of those franchises in because of his tenure’s there, like you are implying.

        When a long list of excuses and rationale need to be made to justify hiring someone, its probably a good idea to pass on him. 

        What would be so bad about him getting us to the playoffs and failing, and then having to hire someone new? Because you shouldn’t hire anyone if you are already anticipating firing them. If you don’t truly believe in McMillan’s ability to be here 5-10 yrs and take us all the way, then you shouldn’t hire him.

        Now, I admit its hard to find those 10 yr championship coach’s, but you have to at least believe the one you hire has potential to be that. I don’t see how there’s any way anyone can think McMillan has that potential based on his track record.

        • Apr 23, 20134:59 pm
          by G

          Reply

          Blaming Portland’s current situation on McMillan? They were absolutely decimated by injuries. He took them out of the Jailblazers era and into the playoffs. If Roy’s body could’ve held together, who knows what would’ve happened.

          • Apr 24, 201310:36 am
            by Crispus

            But the “Jailblazers” were a perennial playoff team (for 21 years!) until 2003. There wasn’t that much rebuilding to be done.

          • Apr 24, 20131:54 pm
            by oats

            There was a ton of rebuilding. By his 3rd year pretty much everyone on the team was new. They had a fire sale. His only holdovers were Travis Outlaw and Joel Pryzbilla. That is clearly a team that did a rebuild.
             

          • Apr 24, 20132:13 pm
            by Crispus

            Well my point is that the “Jailblazers era” bore more fruit than the good days of most teams. It’s not like the team was in shambles for a decade. I would say what McMillan did was more like overseeing a transition than rebuilding a destitute franchise rocked by scandals and injuries (as G makes it sound).  

          • Apr 24, 20132:37 pm
            by G

            I wasn’t talking about the Jailblazers when I said “decimated by injuries”. I was talking about when McMillan had put his time in & should’ve been reaping the fruits of his labor, instead he was trying to patch Roy, Oden and Pryz back together again. The reason Portland is in the situation they’re in isn’t due to anything McMillan did, it’s because they lost 2 franchise cornerstones to injuries. 

            That Jailblazers team had some success but had to be broken up due to the self-destructive nature of many of the players, much like what ended up happening with the 2005 Pacers.   

          • Apr 24, 20133:20 pm
            by Crispus

            I’d be happy about McMillan. “Zelly II” sounds like a good change of pace as well. I wish Hubie Brown would coach again, he’d be my first choice.

        • Apr 23, 20135:03 pm
          by oats

          Reply

          It’s not exactly a long list. His teams weren’t that talented and ran in to some power house teams. He was bounced by the teams like the Duncan/Robinson Spurs, the Nash Suns, and Shaq’s Lakers.
           
          As for his teams falling apart after he left, that is definitely a fair point. It should be noted that his Portland teams fell apart solely due to injuries to their young guys. If Oden and Roy stayed healthy it wouldn’t have been an issue, but those two got hurt. That is definitely not on McMillan, and any team who has 2 of its 3 most talented young guys have their careers shorted by injuries like that will fall apart. It will be up to Dumars to make certain this rebuild is done with a core of young players and not let McMillan retool it in to a team of veterans that max out as just good. If he does that then the team would be in a position to make that jump from good to great after McMillan is gone.
           
          As for the 5-10 years thing, I assume every coaching candidate in the discussion might need to be fired in the next 5 years. That’s the nature of the NBA. How many exceptions are there to that rule? Popovich, Jackson, and Sloan have broken the 5 year thing, and Carlisle will do so this next year. That’s pretty much it for guys doing it recently. I trust exactly zero coaches to join that club. I also don’t think McMillan definitely can’t be that guy, he definitely could be that long term coach. He spent a lot of time working with the national team and it seems reasonable to think his success there taught him something. It is definitely possible he’s expanded his coaching repertoire enough to be that long term solution. I’m just not discounting the possibility he would get fired. I honestly think that McMillan and Dumars could get the team to the point of being good, and it is possible a coaching change would be needed to make that leap to contender status. The first step in that is getting good though, and McMillan has proven an ability to do that.

    • Apr 23, 20133:58 pm
      by G

      Reply

      There are a couple of coaches I like better than McMillan, but who would you suggest?

      • Apr 23, 20134:51 pm
        by Mark

        Reply

        I like Obradovic and also would wait to see what happens with Hollins in MEM and go after him.

        McMillan isn’t anywhere on my list. I would’ve rather had Mike Brown than McMillan. At least he took a team to the Finals. I’d take Avery Johnson over McMillan too. Give me someone that has shown at least SOMETHING special in the playoffs to give me to reason to believe they could win a championship one day. 

        I couldn’t care less about regular season accomplishments.

        • Apr 23, 20134:57 pm
          by G

          Reply

          Mike Brown had LeBron and Shaq. Who did Nate have?

        • Apr 23, 20136:03 pm
          by oats

          Reply

          I like Hollins. Obradovic is an interesting candidate, but I really don’t get having him over Nate. The style of game and the power dynamic between players and coaches is completely different in Europe. That basically leaves him in the same boat as every college coach. He’s a bit like Brad Stevens and should be considered a fringe candidate.
           
          You are really selling Nate short if you think he definitely can’t win a championship. He’s proven he can maximize the talent on his roster. Those teams lost because they weren’t as good as the teams they were playing against. This isn’t a situation where he is under performing, his teams just lacked the talent to make that next push to contender status. No coach can win without the required talent. It’s definitely possible that with a better roster he could win it all. Asking a coach to do more than maximize his talent is absurd.

      • Apr 24, 20133:10 am
        by domnick

        Reply

        SVG is my ideal coach too.. but if he’s not available.. then who else?

        Nate might not be the perfect replacement… but he made underrated teams better… maybe in the mold like mike woodson…

        the problem might be the offense… i think nate can be improvement on Defense..

        the perfect candidate will be the coach who can play fast and danagerous on defense… who is he?

  • Apr 23, 20133:49 pm
    by Sort

    Reply

    Pushing the envelope to search for an upcoming assistant coach should have made Joe Dumars unemployed. Considering he’s still here pulling the trigger, I’m glad McMillian has the early lead. The he’ll bring an identity argument vibes well with me, and that blue-collar slugfest fast break opportunist style would certainly be appreciated by the Piston faithful.
    I’ll take a coach helping Monroe and Stuck overachieve to get us into the playoffs, wondering how many stats Dre could put up in Denver on the downside. Give and take wise, this would be a serious step in the right direction.

  • Apr 23, 20133:57 pm
    by Jay

    Reply

    I really hope they don’t ignore good assistants in this search…
     

    • Apr 23, 20134:23 pm
      by CNA5

      Reply

      I’m assuming you’re talking about assistants with no head coaching experience.  I think they’ll consider them, but the odds are they won’t hire one.  It appears that they want a coach who has a somewhat proven track record.
       
       

  • Apr 23, 20134:20 pm
    by CNA5

    Reply

    Can you have a front-runner for a coach without meeting any candidates? 

  • Apr 23, 20134:29 pm
    by G

    Reply

    Cavs apparently are re-upping with Mike Brown… <Dang…>

    Before I heard the Mike Brown buzz, the 2 names I heard with Cleveland were Budenholzer and Phil (but not seriously I think). This is good, Cleveland has not had a good coaching hire since Fratello.

    • Apr 23, 20134:41 pm
      by MIKEYDE248

      Reply

      I hope they hire him, mainly because I would hate to see the Pistons sign him, for some reason.  We can count on Cleveland sucking for a few more years too.

  • Apr 23, 20134:42 pm
    by MrCarter

    Reply

    Definitly a great choice! I hope we get him.

  • Apr 24, 20131:11 am
    by Otis

    Reply

    Also, and forgive me if this was pointed out above, did anyone else laugh at the notion that a “front runner” could exist for a job that’s this undesirable?? I mean, they might want him bad and pursue him and all that, and maybe he’s their first choice, but “front runner” implies that the ball is in our court and we could have him if we wanted him. Somehow I think he’ll interview literally everywhere else (D-league possibly included) before settling for this disaster of an organization.
     
    Literally the one selling point here is that the next head coach surely has a better chance of surviving Dumars if/when this mediocrity treadmill keeps on running.

    • Apr 24, 20131:28 am
      by oats

      Reply

      I always took frontrunner to mean top of the wish list, nothing more. 
       
      I also don’t think Detroit is that undesirable for coaches. The team has a few interesting young pieces and a lot of cap space. There aren’t really a lot of better job openings right now. Cleveland was before they hired Brown, and… I think I’m out already. I’d prefer Detroit to Philly right now, although that’s partially because I wouldn’t want the whole Evan Turner thing hanging over me. Plus the whole Bynum thing is even worse. The Kings might have an opening soon, but that isn’t exactly a dream scenario. A smart coach should hold out for awhile and see if things open up. The Grizzlies or the Clippers might have openings later, but if those teams keep their coach then Detroit is probably the top job opening. If the Grizzlies are smart they will keep Hollins, but if not they are placing another good coach on the market anyways. I should also admit that McMillan is probably paying attention to what happen with the Kings. If they end up in Seattle he might want to go there because he’s a Seattle guy. Still Detroit is on the short list of desirable job openings at the very least.

      • Apr 24, 20132:27 pm
        by Otis

        Reply

        I guess it was sort of late and I could have phrased it better, but to me “front runner” at the very least connotes some sort of race or goal. It also strikes me that a “front runner” would have the best CHANCE at getting the job. The fact that they want him or are targeting/pursuing him doesn’t make me think “front runner” as long as I’m unconvinced anyone is really all that interested in taking this job.
         
        As for your second point, I tend to think waiting on another opportunity, or even just plain “not being an NBA coach” would be more desirable than hooking up with an organization with this level of toxicity. Kings head coach might be the one job that looks worse at the moment, but if the title were to become “Seattle Supersonics Head Coach” I see that changing. I just don’t see this being the TOP job no matter what other teams are out there, as waiting it out is the consensus best option for any qualified candidate.
         
        But I don’t think the players here are any sort of draw. I doubt anyone who actually has to figure out how to use them would be salivating to get their hands on a young frontcourt that consists of two centers without much experience playing together and basically nothing surrounding them. And I think cap space is overrated when you’re living in basketball Hell like we all have been for the past half decade.
         
        And like I said before, the promise of outlasting Dumars has to be the top selling point. There is absolutely no chance whatsoever that the next head coach is yet another scapegoat for Joe. They might get fired together, but this is going to be the last head coach Dumars hires if things don’t suddenly straighten out.

        • Apr 24, 20133:55 pm
          by oats

          Reply

          I’d say front runner is the best chance of being offered the job. Whoever the top candidate is would therefore be the front runner, but whether he wants the job or not is another matter entirely. Even if the odds are decent he turns it down, he is still more likely to be the coach than anyone who isn’t being offered the position. That said, it is fair to bring up the will he take it question. Honestly, I think the answer is not just yet, but maybe. I’ve already given the 3 spots he’d be more likely to end up. He has ties to the Seattle area and might go there if that is where the Kings wind up. Memphis and the Clippers are rumored to be evaluating their coaches, so he probably will wait for those. Depending on how things shake up, Detroit might be the best job offer he has and I don’t see him turning it down.
           
          You are really down on the Monroe Drummond paring for some unknown reason. I really don’t get it. They started a little slow, but those last few games Monroe was absolutely killing it. I don’t know what more you could have realistically asked for from a 22 year old and 19 year old suddenly playing together for the first time. It makes sense it took them a couple games to get in to a groove, even veterans often take awhile to adjust. They’ll probably continue having some growing pains as a pairing, but all the signs suggest they are good enough players that they will be good regardless of their fit not being quite ideal. Few teams have front courts that fit perfectly anyways, and at least Detroit’s poor fit is with two guys who are good. Any coach afraid of a job with two young big men as good as Drummond and Monroe shouldn’t be a top coaching candidate. That guy is probably too married to a system to figure out what to do with that, like D’Antoni looked most of the season. Any quality coach adjusts his system around the talent at hand, and that coach should look at them and start trying to figure out what to do instead of running away from the challenge. Lawrence Frank had them looking pretty good for crying out loud. No good coaches should be terrified of that situation. 
           
          I also don’t get the argument you make about free agency. By and large people exaggerate how a team’s recent success effects their ability to get players in free agency, and I suspect you are doing it here. What’s more, free agency isn’t the only way to use cap space to get some talent. I suspect there will be some decent players that get moved this next season to free up cap space in anticipation of a Summer of LeBron 2.0 because next year’s free agent crop will be stacked. There is going to be a chance to add some talent by being willing to take on some money. Heck, Chicago might be willing to move Luol Deng for little more than cap space since they are over the luxury tax next year with only 9 guys on the books. There are plenty of other teams looking to get clear of the luxury tax too. The team should be capable of adding talent this year, and if they don’t it’s because they are intentionally trying to save for next season. Given that, no coach should consider his job at risk if the cap space isn’t used to make some kind of substantial talent gain because the plan would be to be bad. Of course I think there is no chance that is Joe’s plan anyways, but that just leads me back to the team will add talent with that cap space somehow.
           
          You might not see a Drummond and Monroe pairing as a great draw, but you are wrong. If you compare it to the other coaching opportunities that tend to be open then it’s a huge draw for coaches. Good teams generally hold on to their coaches, and anyone who wants to be an NBA coach should just take any opportunity that isn’t terrible. I get ducking the Bobcats because they have few building blocks and little hope of being good any time soon. That isn’t Detroit’s situation. Detroit is a team that can make the playoffs as soon as next year. This isn’t a situation a coach should avoid, and it doesn’t make sense to just hold out hope that something better shakes out next year. It makes sense to see if the Grizz or Clippers fire their coach this season, but if they don’t those head coaches have a decent chance of solidifying their long term candidacy by doing well with a talented team next year. It’s just not worth the wait with such a high chance of nothing happening. Those jobs are too few and far between because that caliber of team is usually set on their coach. If a coach sits out too long he gets in to Hubie Brown territory where his odds of being rehired severely diminish because he’s just been away too long. That’s how Hubie Brown ended up in Memphis before they were any good instead of landing a good gig. Coaches can sit for a few years, but eventually teams stop taking them seriously as candidates if they wait too long. No one wants a coach that doesn’t seem to want to coach, unless of course he’s Phil Jackson good. So Phil can bide his time, everyone else should jump at a team that is poised for a playoff push knowing that he gets the credit if they successfully do so. That’s the draw, that this team is already close to be being decent.

    • Apr 24, 20134:05 pm
      by Anthony J

      Reply

      If a coach believes that he can be successful with this team then why fear? Saunders had locker room issues and Larry Brown was more so a Bill Davidson fire than it was Joe. People make it seem like Detroit has a huge red X on it when coaches are looking for jobs. If a coach believes that they can make it to the playoffs with this team then why not take the job. Do we have a track record of firing coaches? Sure but that shouldn’t let coaches lose confidence in their abilities.

  • Apr 24, 20132:59 am
    by gmehl

    Reply

    If Calderon is not resigned and if/when we miss out on Trey Burke maybe the eventual hiring of Nate McMillan could sway Jarrett Jack to sign with us due to there Portland connection with each other. Jack isn’t my first choice for us but he would certainly be an upgrade over a lot of other guys that will be on the market. Hopefully the the lottery gods answer our prayers so we don’t have to worry about it but Jack would be a nice back up plan.

  • Apr 24, 20137:00 am
    by acr

    Reply

    McMillan, Maurice Cheeks, or Brian Shaw would be my top choices.

    • Apr 24, 20131:04 pm
      by CNA5

      Reply

      Why Maurice Cheeks?  What did he do in Philly or Portland that makes you like him?
       
      Why Brian Shaw over Budenholzer?  Or Fizdale?  Or even Mike Malone?
       
      I’m just curious as to what makes you like Shaw over those other top assistants. 

      • Apr 24, 20132:12 pm
        by I HATE FRANK

        Reply

        Theres a forumla that seems to work WELL for sucessful NBA Coaches…

        1. Must have played the game on all three levels…They dont even need to be good or great NBA players (I perfer the blue collar type)but they must have played in the nba or professional basketball

        2. Been mentored by other winning coaches….

        3. They have a strong idenity, they wont try to immulate what their coaching mentor has done

      • Apr 24, 20132:57 pm
        by acr

        Reply

        I’m a fan of the ex- NBA player factor, which is why I like all three guys.  Cheeks had some successful teams in Portland, including a few playoff appearances.  It’s worth noting that McMillan replaced Cheeks after he was fired from PORT, and they endured a few more losing seasons before making the playoffs again with a very different roster.  This points towards the idea that I’m sure we’d all agree on that it’s good players, not necessarily good coaches, that are the primary source of winning teams.  His run in Philly was less than stellar, agreed, but he didn’t exactly have a great roster there either, and even snuck into the playoffs the year before he was fired.  Cheeks as been the lead assistant with OKC for the past four years, and has generally been credited for helping to develop Westbrook, and the Thunder in general. He also was an All-Star as a player and won a NBA championship with Philly.  I know he interviewed for the Pistons job a few years ago too, I’d be interested to know where he was in the rankings after that interview.

        The other asst. coaches you mention could be good options too, but none played in the NBA. I don’t think that Budenholzer is leaving San Antonio (he’ll take over when Pop retires), and though Malone’s dad was an Asst. w/ Detroit, I don’t see that connection being too important in this search.  Shaw has the NBA playing experience plus has been a successful lead assistant for both the Lakers and now the Pacers.  I’d give him the edge due to those experiences over the other Assts. you mentioned, but he doesn’t have the HC experience that Cheeks nor McMillan have, so he’d be my 3rd choice.  

        • Apr 24, 20133:11 pm
          by G

          Reply

          I think the former player aspect can be very overrated. Where did Thibodeau play? Or SVG? Or JVG, for that matter? Hubie Brown, Mike Fratello, Popovich… None of those guys played in the NBA.

          On the other hand, there have been many BAD coaches that were former players. I get the appeal of having a former player come to coach, but I’d rather the best candidate get the job, regardless of playing experience. Cheeks & Shaw don’t impress me much.

  • Apr 24, 20137:40 am
    by MrCarter

    Reply

    I wanna know who these “sources” are
     

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