NBA rumors: J.B. Bickerstaff to interview for Pistons coaching job

Jeff Gross

See that guy pictured above? That's Bernie Bickerstaff. He's not interviewing for the Pistons job ... but his son, whose star is rising so fast cameras apparently can't capture his image, is.

The Detroit Pistons are interviewing a Houston Rockets assistant coach ... but it's not Kelvin Sampson. Instead, Detroit will reportedly sit down with J.B. Bickerstaff, the 34-year-old son of longtime NBA head coach Bernie Bickerstaff.

Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports was the first to break the news; Vincent Goodwill of the Detroit News and Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press are reporting the same.

If you recall, the elder Bickerstaff was the Lakers' interim head coach (going 4-1) between the time Mike Brown was fired and Mike D'Antoni was brought in. He's finished the season on D'Antoni's staff but was informed Monday that he won't be brought back in 2013-14. I'm not sure anyone considers Bernie a legitimate head coaching candidate anymore ... but if it would be kind of funny if he ends up competing with his son for a job.

But I digress. Back to the question most of you are thinking: Who the hell is J.B. Bickerstaff? Let's turn to the Houston Rockets' media guide:

John-Blair "J.B." Bickerstaff begins his second season as an assistant coach with the Houston Rockets. Bickerstaff joined the Rockets after spending four seasons (2007-11) as an assistant coach with the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Prior to joining the Timberwolves, Bickerstaff spent three seasons (2004-07) as an assistant coach to his father, Bernie Bickerstaff, with the Charlotte Bobcats. He also served as head coach of Charlotte’s Summer League teams in 2005 and 2006. The youngest assistant coach in the NBA at age 25 when he began with the Bobcats in 2004-05, J.B. followed in the footsteps of his father, who was the youngest assistant coach when he joined the NBA at 29 years old in 1973.

Around basketball his whole life, Bickerstaff provided color analysis on radio broadcasts in 2003-04 for the Timberwolves when the team won the Midwest Division and advanced to the Western Conference Finals. Prior to that, he served as the director of operations for the University of Minnesota men’s basketball program where he oversaw all administrative areas of the program and assisted the coaching staff with recruiting, scouting and coaching.

Born March 10, 1979, Bickerstaff played his first two collegiate seasons at Oregon State University, where he was the youngest NCAA Division I player as a 17-year-old freshman, and finished his career at the University of Minnesota. He played two seasons with the Golden Gophers (1999-2001) and averaged 9.4 points and 5.8 rebounds. As a senior, he averaged 10.9 points and 6.1 rebounds while pacing the team in field goal percentage.

The guy seems like a rising star ... but he still scares me, even if only because he's never done it before. That's probably not fair, but Detroit's history of churning through coaches has left me scarred. (If he does get the job, though, I'm guessing it won't take long for me to switch gears into full optimist mode -- dude really does seem like a prodigy who's lived and breathed hoops his whole life.)

Now your thoughts.

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