Category → Notes
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.
NBA coaching sources say Pistons interviewing Nate McMillan on Tuesday.
Nate McMillan had already been reported the front-runner for the job, and this is even more evidence. At this point, I consider McMillan, though just slightly, more likely than not to become the Pistons’ next coach.
Jason Collins – who always impressed me as a starter on a tough New Jersey Nets teams that ruled the Eastern Conference before the Pistons overtook them – came out as gay in an article he wrote for Sports Illustrated. Ex-Pistons coach Lawrence Frank, who coached Collins in New Jersey, spoke well of the player today. Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated:
Lawrence Frank, Collins coach for years in NJ, calls any potential locker room issues with Collins "non-issues."
Frank to SI: "People underrate the tolerance in the NBA. And I think it will break down barriers for people who were a little ignorant."
Frank: "If you want a professional veteran who can guard the post and be a positive influence in the locker room, Twin is your guy."
If Frank meant Twin “was” your guy, I definitely agree. Now? I’m not so sure. Collins is 34, and regardless of today’s announcement his NBA future was uncertain. I wrote more about Collins’ pending free agency for Pro Basketball Talk.
That was my attempt to put these clips into context, the effort was probably futile. Just watch these (hat tip: Trey Kerby of The Basketball Jones):
Hunter was completely overwhelmed in Phoenix, where he was promoted to head coach after Alvin Gentry’s mid-season departure. Hunter obviously didn’t have much time to prepare – he was previously the team’s player development director, not even an assistant coach – so his struggles are somewhat understandable. If someone were to build a case for Hunter, he could claim Hunter would do much better with adequate time to develop and install his system.
But that’s what Michael Curry could do, too.
When the Pistons traded Chauncey Billups for Allen Iverson, Curry couldn’t handle it. Curry spent all offseason developing a plan for the group of players he thought he’d be coaching, and when those players changed, Curry was nearly as overwhelmed as Hunter was. Being an NBA head coach takes more flexibility than that.
His experience in Phoenix – still ongoing until the Suns, who just fired their general manager, fire him – might prepare him to be a head coach again some day, but Hunter isn’t ready now.
28. Greg Monroe
If you redid the 2010 draft, the top 10 probably goes like this: Paul George (picked 10th originally), John Wall (first), Monroe (seventh), Favors (third), Cousins (fifth), Sanders (15th), Hayward (ninth), Vasquez (28th), Bradley (19th) and Bledsoe (18th). Here’s the point: You never, EVER really know with the NBA draft. Anyway, I like Monroe, even if I’ve never had one Monroe-related conversation, e-mail exchange or even a text message with anyone I know. He’s forgettably excellent! He’s Greg Monroe.
Important note: If you gave 100 Detroit fans a choice between building around Monroe or Andre Drummond, all 100 would choose Drummond. And I totally get it: Fans always gravitate toward unlimited potential over known commodities. Let’s look at per-36-minute numbers of two frighteningly raw/athletic/explosive young big guys …
Shawn Kemp, Year 1 (age 20): 16.9 PPG, 11.1 RPG, 2.3 BPG, 48% FG, 74% FT
Drummond, Year 1 (age 19): 13.8 PPG, 13.2 RPG, 2.8 BPG, 61% FG, 37% FT
That’s a good sign for Drummond, because …
Kemp, Year 2: 30.1 MPG, 17.9 PPG, 8.4 RPG, 1.5 BPG, 51% FG, 66% FT
The biggest difference between them other than Kemp having eight times as many kids? Kemp always made free throws (career: 74 percent), while Drummond has been an ongoing calamity on that front. If you’re a big guy who can’t make free throws, you better be named Shaq or Wilt. That’s my biggest concern with the Drummond era; we’ve seen dreadful free throw shooting derail too many talented guys. Monroe is just a safer bet. Stay tuned.
46. Andre Drummond
To recap: The 2012 lottery teams showed the appropriate amount of Drummond-related caution; he fell the appropriate number of spots (to no. 9); landed on the perfect team (Detroit); and quickly elevated himself beyond "massive project" status to "legitimate shot-blocking/rebounding/high-flying game-changer of the bench" status. His per-36 minute numbers: 13.8 PPG, 13.2 RPG, 2.8 BPG, 60.8% FG … and 37.1% FT, but still! I can’t forget seeing him smiling sadly on draft night with one of those beaten-down looks on his face, like he was thinking, It’s OK, I’m gonna try hard in the NBA, I’m not gonna let you down, I’m a good guy, I swear! Hard not to root for him after that. And by the way? That Drummond-Monroe foundation is pretty nice, right? I fully support any NBA team that builds around players named after iconic sitcom characters from my childhood.
Why Andre Drummond ranks No. 1
Andre Drummond has the greatest potential among all Pistons – maybe even the greatest potential among all NBA players – and he’s already Detroit’s second-best player.
The biggest reason Drummond claims the top spot ahead of Greg Monroe, though, is his contract. Unlike Monroe, who’s eligible for an extension this summer, Drummond will be on rookie-scale contract for the next three years. Drummond making $3,272,091 in 2015-16? Yes, please.
Drummond’s back injury gave me some pause about giving him the top spot, but a single injury isn’t enough to downgrade Drummond. It’s definitely a red flag, though. Hopefully, injuries won’t derail what seems like a very promising career.
Why Greg Monroe ranks No. 2
Greg Monroe is the Pistons’ best player. He’s gotten better each season, and he’s seemed to be on the verge of an All-Star berth since last year. He’s only 22 and has plenty of room to get better, especially defensively.
Monroe is the type of hard-working, self-motivated and no-nonsense players most teams would love to begin a rebuild with.
So why does he rank only No. 2?
Monroe will be eligible to sign a contract extension this summer, and judging by his closest peer – Roy Hibbert – Monroe is more likely than not to get a max contract. How valuable will Monroe remain at that price? If I were the Pistons, I’d be willing to pay him max money, but I’d do it knowing there’s a real risk Monroe becomes overpaid.