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Pistons firing coaches isn’t their problem

Me at the Detroit Free Press:

The Pistons fire too many coaches like doctors remove too many tumors.

The extraction isn’t the problem.

Of course, doctors don’t hire tumors, so the analogy is as imperfect as a Maurice Cheeks playing rotation. But the Pistons’ issue isn’t firing coaches too frequently.

It’s too frequently getting to the position where firing a coach makes sense.

Detroit has fired eight coaches since Joe Dumars became general manager in 2000 — more than any other NBA team in that span. It’s easy to point to that number and say the Pistons are too impatient, too unforgiving.

But in the moment of those firings, the Pistons usually have been right.

There are two lessons here, one from the first half of Dumars’ tenure and one from the second half.

As the second half shows, hiring a good coach is imperative. If you don’t have one of those, you’re just biding time until you figure out what you do have.

But as the first half shows, that’s not enough. Even good coaches need front-office support, a general manager who’s committed to helping them reach both the players and owners.

Lately, the Pistons haven’t supported their bad coaches. It’s an awful combination doomed to failure.

The only thing the Pistons have done consistently right with their coaches is fire them.


  • Feb 14, 20141:15 pm
    by pablum


    Sorry this is off topic. I just want to make sure Tim gets it and there’s a 172 comments on the other post. So here goes:
    Here’s what Tim wrote to me trying to defend his preposterous claims that B. Jennings “isn’t even close” to a top 10 PG, and his even more preposterous claims that our 2004 Piston title team was more of an instant-champion team than today’s Miami Heat:
    Tim writes: “[Pablum] Do you not understand that someone can be in the 10-20 range and not be top 10? In fact, 90% of the time, they won’t be. Further down in the very same post, I said that I’d put him in the 14-18 range to be more specific.
    So your argument is that there are stupid people in Detroit? I mean, that’s true and all, but there are also smart people there. And it is also a “____ would happen if ____” argument for which you provided no evidence that ____ would in fact happen. So besides the fact that your claim doesn’t prove anything, it is purely speculative and I could just as easily state the opposite. This is why I call you incompetent. You don’t seem to understand that the arguments you’re making don’t have any merit–not because I dismiss them but because logic does.
    Also, confirmation bias is when you have predetermined your conclusion such that you perceive as supporting evidence facts which do not support it or perhaps even contradict it. Quantum mechanics is a theory about how electrons can only have certain distinct energy levels and not intermediate ones. Those aren’t even close to related. So I’m not sure where you were going with that.”
    And here is my response:
    @TimThielke — You’re making it too easy:
    (1) You emphatically have stated many times Jennings is “not even close” to  being a top 10 PG. Then you wrote to Max that Jennings is in the “10″ — “20″ range. Do you not understand your own words? Seriously? If you say he’s in the “10″– “20″ range you cannot consequently say he’s “not even close to being” in the top 10. You logically cannot. You must omit the number 10 as a variable completely. Break this down to set theory, or use a Venn diagram. It’s a logical impossibility.
    (2) You write about the Pistons but clearly no nothing about Detroit and the history of Detroit fans. This is a massive blind spot for you. The 2004 team was a Blue-Collar Go to Work team and the city loved them for it! We loved them because the way that team came together, without a superstar, to after 3 seasons of paying our dues, to win a title — that reflected our lives, our hopes, our experience. You live in an utter fantasy world if you think this doesn’t mean anything. And to compare that team to the 3 superstar Heat team that went to the championship its first year(!) — and you dared call that growing pains! — is an INSULT to Detroiters. And it is stunning you do not know this.
    (3) “confirmation bias theory” And quantum Mechanics. (Stop using a dictionary to look up what these terms mean). Here’s what I was saying: (a) why would you bring “confirmation bias theory” into this discussion? It’s pretentious. (b) I was trying to out-pretentious you by comparing your “confirmation bias theory” to quantum mechanics, but if you need a little lesson of the clear relation between the two it is this: (and I’ll set aside the fact that confirmation bias theory is “dated” and much of this work is now conducted in terms of “implicit bias” theory,” but whaddever: So here’s the deal Tim. “Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle” is a a crucial theory of quantum mechanics which directly contradicts Newtonian Physics. It does so because it posits that individual subjectivity itself is an agency in determining reality (not in a solopsistic frame, but an actual atomic frame). This incredibly difficult thesis is generally and famously articulated in the basic idea that you cannot know both the speed and location of a sub-atomic particle and consequently it is the individual subject that actually produces this determination, hence, individual subjectivity determines this material reality. And that is the pretentious relation I was making…
    Now I’d like to stop this nonsense with you, my fellow Piston compatriot, despite what I see are huge craters in your historical understanding of our beloved team and the city of Detroit itself, and move on in kindred spirit, enjoy some fine puffy and a brilliant glass of Jadot’s Moulin a Vent (affordable and brilliant my friends), and properly prepae myself for some All-Star festivities and our promising 2nd half to the season! Onward My fellow Piston compatriots, I say!

    • Feb 14, 20143:02 pm
      by Tim Thielke


      If and when I feel like replying to you, I’ll do it in the original thread. Please don’t hijack other posts with your nonsense.

      • Feb 14, 20147:14 pm
        by pablum


        I waited until 7:15PM to write to make sure I would not “hijack” this thread, though I have to say I never knew how an old man could have such power over a blog with some really smart fucking people. But anyway, I want to be able to post in amity to all, so I will once again extend the olive branch in the spirit of our common and collective Piston’s unity. To do that, I’m sure from you’re point of view, will require a supreme effort from me, which I will gladly accept, for my part, I have only a small request. Please stop calling me stupid, incompetent, and otherwise continue in your serially trashing of my clearly developed senses, however they may be warped by time and age, and lots of other shit. That’s all I ask.
        Other than that I stand by everything I said, excepting, of course, any personal attacks. I stand by their thesis, their style, their demand for social and historical contexts, and even by their physics.

  • Feb 14, 20141:25 pm
    by Diabs


    The major issue with the Pistons’ coaching situation is the attractiveness of the job. In the second half of Joe D’s tenure, there has not been any interest from ‘good coaches’ in the Pistons job. Why would a highly rated coach risk his reputation to try and coach a roster featuring Ben Gordon, Charlie V, or Stuckey. That’s why you ended up with mediocre hires, coaches who were more suited for the assistant role than to be a head coach, as they were the only ones who were hoping for a head coaching opportunity. 
    I think moving forward, the Pistons job will become more attractive.

  • Feb 15, 20141:10 pm
    by Russell


    pablum mad lol

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