By now it's pretty obvious that Bill Laimbeer won't get his first shot as an NBA head coach with the Pistons. Twice before he interviewed for the gig, and he was passed over both times. Does anyone think he'd even go through the process a third time?
Personally, I'd be shocked -- especially after he left his gig as an assistant with the Timberwolves and returned to the women's game just months ago, taking over in October as GM and head coach of the WNBA's New York Liberty.
That said, he's almost always the first name that fans mention when head coaches complete their two-year terms in Detroit (and for good reason! Revisit Mike Payne's impassioned plea from 2011), so let's play along. Just like I've done with a handful of other candidates this week, I reached out SB Nation's team blogger for an opinion about how the candidate would fit in Detroit.
Unfortunately, those of us who prefer to view Laimbeer in nostalgia-tinted sepia tones might not like his answer. From Nate Arch (aka, Stop-n-Pop) of Canis Hoopus:
He was a narcissistic dope who liked nothing more than to remind people of how highly he thought of himself during his time at 600 First Avenue. I'm not really sure he added anything useful to the team in terms of coaching or personnel selection and I can't think of a single person associated with the team who was sad to see him go.
(PS: Cheryl Reeve would be a much better option.)
So, uh, there's that. Huh.
I seem to recall reading about Kevin Love crediting Laimbeer for helping him take his next step, but I can't quite find it. (There's this profile from 2009, but that's not much. Anyone in the comments remember what I'm talking about?) He's obviously had tremendous success in the WNBA, and he's confident that success will someday translate to the NBA. From an ESPN interview soon after he was hired by the Liberty:
"I left the WNBA because I had a plan for the NBA, and for whatever reason -- it's still unclear to me -- the plan didn't work out," Laimbeer, 55, said. "So I spent the last year here [in Florida] competing against fish and the golf course. I'm a competitive person and like the competition of basketball, so I wanted to get back into it.
"Part of what happened in the NBA will still always stick with me, just because I think I could be very successful in the NBA. But I've made a commitment here, and I think I can be very successful with the Liberty. … Being in basketball and keeping sharp as far as managing a game and winning games -- that's what I enjoy and what I want to do."
For now, he'll have to keep enjoying it in the WNBA.
It seems like we've had the "should Bill Laimbeer coach the Pistons?" debate a thousand times, so let's take a new spin on this. How much longer do you think Laimbeer must wait before an NBA team gives him a shot? Do you think it'll ever happen?