Category → Notes
But one source close to the situation told ESPN.com that Jackson’s willingness to counsel Gores and Pistons president Joe Dumars as they weigh candidates to replace the ousted Lawrence Frank is an unpaid consultancy stemming from Jackson’s friendship with Gores and "does not foreclose any options" with regard to the 11-time championship coach’s intentions to find a new full-time NBA management job.
When news of the Pistons’ hiring Phil Jackson broke, I wrote this would most likely be irrelevant or counterproductive (though helpful is certainly a real possibility, too).
We still don’t know which it will be, but put a tally in the irrelevant column.
Earlier today, I wrote about Tom Gores ‘looking to put his stamp on’ the Pistons coaching hire. It didn’t take long to learn what that meant. Keith Langlois of Pistons.com:
Tom Gores’ vow to use every available resource to restore the Pistons to greatness has led him to Phil Jackson, who has agreed to serve in an advisory capacity in the franchise’s search for a head coach.
“Phil Jackson is a friend and one of the best minds in the business,” Gores said. “We are thrilled to have him as an adviser as we make some very important decisions for this franchise. Joe (Dumars) and I discussed this and he and I are in full agreement that this is a great opportunity.”
“Phil Jackson and Tom Gores are friends,” said Mark Barnhill, a partner in Platinum Equity, Gores’ California-based private equity firm. “Based on that relationship, Phil has agreed to provide advice and counsel on the coaching search and immediate basketball needs. He will be in Detroit next week as a resource to Joe Dumars, who is leading the search.
Phil Jackson’s presence might be meaningless – a way to spread wealth from a billionaire to a millionaire friend, a Hollywood show designed to excite fans. I’m not one to tell Tom Gores how to spend his money, especially when it doesn’t affect the NBA’s salary cap, but that seems like a waste. No fan will spend any more money on the Pistons simply because they hired Jackson for a few-week or few-month job.
But maybe Jackson will have a real role in the search. If that’s the case, this could get very counterproductive.
Reportedly, Gores hired Lawrence Frank over Mike Woodson, despite Dumars preferring Woodson. I can’t imagine the Pistons hiring Frank unless Dumars at least liked him, but Dumars’ preference to a coach succeeding with the Knicks over one just fired by the Pistons should give Dumars more leeway in this coaching search.
Hiring coaches is Dumars’ job, and if Gores can’t trust him to do it, he should just fire him now. If Dumars actually wants Jackson on board as an advisor – see Langlois’ article for a boilerplate quote from Dumars about looking forward to working with Jackson – that’s one thing, but Dumars is basically forced to respond that way whether he supports adding Jackson or not.
What does this mean about the Pistons’ next coach?
If Jackson is a figurehead, nothing.
If he’s involved, I’d still call Nate McMillan the favorite, but former Jackson assistant Brian Shaw certainly has a better shot.
Or maybe Jackson will pull a Dick Cheney and hire himself. In that case, ignore all my negative concerns and check back for my post praising the big-thinking Gores.
owner Tom Gores is taking a leading role in the search. "He’s looking to put his stamp on this one," a person familiar with Gores’ approach said.
I thought Tom Gores put his stamp on hiring Lawrence Frank? This, at least partially, contradicts a report by Vincent Goodwill of The Detroit News that Joe Dumars will lead this coaching search.
Has Gores gotten more involved since Goodwill’s report? Perhaps, or maybe Berger’s and Goodwill’s reports are simply at odds. We might never know, but I suspect we’ll get more clues as the search continues.
Pistons trainer Mike Abdenour suffered a heart attack in March, and Keith Langlois of Pistons.com has the details of the episode. More importantly, Abdenour is back with the team. Langlois:
Will the health scare cause him to scale back next season?
“Nope, nuh-uh,” he said. “The doctor understands what’s going on. The folks who are monitoring me understand what’s going on.”
What he vows to do, he says, is pay more heed to eating right and maintaining his physical conditioning. But if the people around him are expecting a kinder, gentler, mellower Mike Abdenour – a guy so many have come to know for a gruff exterior but a quick mind and big heart – well, maybe not so much.
“Will I still be the ball-busting, sarcastic SOB that people assume that I am? Yes,” he smiles. “I’m looking at life right now like, ‘Hey, this is how it is, this is how we’re rolling and if you want to jump on the train and be a part of it, great. If not, I don’t have time for you any more.’ But it is so good to be back.”
This just great, great news.
Despite Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press reporting Kelvin Sampson won’t have a shot at the Pistons coaching vacancy, the latest says the Pistons are interested in Sampson. Ken Berger of CBSSports.com:
The Pistons are pursuing Sampson and McMillan, the former Trail Blazers coach, sources said.
The Pistons have targeted a bevy of names to bring in, from former head coaches to assistants like Miami’s David Fizdale and Indiana’s Brian Shaw.
It sounds like the Pistons are conducting an expansive search, which is exactly what they should do, but these two candidates come with a slight drawback. Fizdale and Shaw are both coaching playoff teams, so the Pistons will probably have to wait to interview them. Goodwill:
The Pistons have no self-imposed deadline to hire a head coach, officials close to the situation told The News.
Under Joe Dumars, the front office has typically led the pre-draft process, with the head coach (if there is one) playing only a complementary role, so I don’t see a drawback to waiting for Fizdale and Shaw. A new coach wouldn’t be doing much now, anyway. It’s much, much more important the Pistons hire the right coach for September onward.
The vocal segment of Pistons fans who believe any NBA player can turn into an elite post player simply by training with Hakeem Olajuwon might get their wish. Keith Langlois of Pistons.com:
This teaser on
@DRE_DRUMMOND_ Plans not final, but he’s reached out to Hakeem Olajuwon for a summer session with the HOFer in Houston.
Kudos to Andre Drummond for taking this proactive step, but don’t assume this will fix his very raw post game. There’s no doubt Olajuwon is one of the best and most-developed interior players of all-time, but that doesn’t mean he’s a great teacher or Drummond is a great student – and, even if they both are, that doesn’t mean their teaching and learning styles will mesh.
Michael Jordan practices with the Bobcats, and they’re still terrible. Not every great player can transfer his skills to every current player.
Hopefully, Drummond will work with Olajuwon and learn a lot, but don’t mistake this for a guaranteed success.
Thanks a lot, Lawrence Frank.
Andre Drummond was on track to have one of the most promising rookie seasons ever, comparing to Shaq’s rookie year at one point. But Frank played Drummond so little, 20.7 minutes per game after a late-season rise, Drummond had no chance at Rookie of the Year.
Drummond’s late injury probably would have pushed him behind Damian Lillard no matter what Frank decided, but the Pistons center deserved better than fourth. Bradley Beal finished third – ahead of Drummond by a larger margin than between Drummond and 10th-place John Jenkins.
Because of such a low minute total, I bet plenty of voters ignored Drummond. Dock him for a lack of playing time. That’s fine. This award is about impact, and it’s difficult to make an impact while on the bench. But Drummond still deserved to finish ahead of Beal.
These awards don’t matter much, and it matters exponentially less who finishes third or fourth. But it’s always nice to see Pistons do well, and we were denied that satisfaction – one last gift from Frank.
Complete Rookie of the Year voting
Player, team: total points (first-second-third)
- Damian Lillard, Portland: 605 (121-0-0)
Anthony Davis, New Orleans: 306 (0-96-18) Bradley Beal, Washington: 94 (0-14-52) Andre Drummond, Detroit: 36 (0-5-21) Dion Waiters, Cleveland: 21 (0-2-15) Harrison Barnes, Golden State: 8 (0-1-5) Chris Copeland, New York: 8 (0-2-2) Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Charlotte: 3 (0-0-3) Jonas Valanciunas, Toronto: 2 (0-0-2) John Jenkins, Atlanta: 1 (0-0-1)
Despite firing Lawrence Frank, the Pistons will still play the Orlando summer league, according to team spokesman Kevin Grigg. Frank preferred Orlando to Las Vegas, which was convenient, because the Orlando summer league is cheaper due to its shorter length. The Pistons’ next coach might prefer Las Vegas, but he won’t change the economic realities or that fact that it might be too late logistically to change this year.
Dan Gilbert – when he took a break from telling the Pistons owner Tom Gores how to run his team – insinuated Gores is an absentee owner. Mike Wilkinson of The Detroit News:
But Gilbert said he hasn’t had a chance to talk to Gores, who took over the Pistons in 2011, because Gores hasn’t been at recent NBA owners’ meetings.
Without context of how often other owners attend these meetings, I wouldn’t make a big deal about this. But it certainly fits with the limited amount we know of Gores, who attends just a couple games each season. That doesn’t mean Gores can’t be effective as an owner, but it is revealing.