It's been "official" for a couple days, but today at a morning press conference, Joe Dumars confirmed that John Kuester will be the new head coach of the Detroit Pistons. Kuester brings over 20-years of coaching experience to the table, but has never been an NBA head coach. That being said, he still has many years of experience and has been fortunate enough to have assisted some of the elite coaches who have made it to the Finals or won a championship in the past, all of which has sufficiently readied him for a head coaching position. Kuester said as much in an interview with Pistons reporter Eli Zaret.
A lot has been said recently about the Pistons letting Avery Johnson slip away and that Joe Dumars is going against his word by hiring a guy who has never been an NBA head coach. If you recall, Dumars mentioned that he wanted to hire a guy with more experience when he fired Michael Curry. At first glance, hiring John Kuester is the complete opposite of that as he has no NBA head coaching experience.
Well, I think other than not having the title as an NBA head coach, John Kuester is better prepped to be the head coach of the Detroit Pistons. Avery Johnson coached four measely seasons for the Dallas Mavericks, immediately after his playing days, while John Kuester has been in the business of coaching for over 20-years. In fact, Kuester was a head coach at George Washington University for five seasons, too. If you want to talk about a guy with more overall experience, John Kuester is the guy, not Avery Johnson.
I really didn't become familiar with John Kuester until this season. I knew he was an assistant under Larry Brown in 2004, but I started to really take notice this past season when I noticed him drawing up the plays in Cleveland time out huddles and barking at the Cavs when they were on offense. I know this is the norm at times for assistant coaches, but for some reason Kuester's role with the Cavaliers really caught my attention. In some ways, I feel like the Pistons are getting Cleveland's head coach. This sounds crazy, but we may very well be getting their better coach.
The Pistons have a lot of work to do still, but they are quickly putting the pieces together a la 2000 when they last started rebuilding. Personally, I wouldn't call this a rebuilding phase because I really don't see this team being in the lottery next season. I prefer to use the term renovating. As long as the Pistons are consistently putting a playoff team on the court, anything is possible. And I don't say that in the same cheesy manner as Kevin Garnett.