The case against coaching in Detroit

Three NBA championships, numerous Hall of Famers, a one-time great GM, and a legacy loaded with defensive tenacity making its resurgence through a young talented frontcourt may not be enough to fill the Coach's chair in Detroit this summer.

Whether you support Brian Shaw, Nate McMillan, Maurice Cheeks, Zelko Obradovic, or any other head coaching hopeful, the fact remains the same: The Detroit Pistons are an undesirable franchise to start or re-start your coaching career.

In 1957, the Detroit Pistons hired their first head coach Red Rochas mid-way through the season. Since Red's hiring in 1957, the Pistons have hired a total of 29 head coaches over 55+ years. Subtract Daddy Rich's 9 season career with Detroit and your head coach's average tenure is an unimpressive 1.6 years. Even with Daly's atypical tenure with the Pistons, the average time prior to canning is a mere 1.9 years as compared with the current NBA average of around 3.2 years.

So while we all struggle to identify which coach is the best fit for us, we skip over the real question: Which coach is willing to take a chance on Detroit? Regardless of success, Detroit coaches in recent history haven't been able to keep their jobs. In fact, the average winning percentage of the last 7 coaches in their final seasons as head coach for our franchise is a better-than-average 51%. Since George Irvine was let go in favor of Rick Carlisle, head coaches in their final season have averaged a winning record. And yet the average tenure is still only 1.9 years over that same time period.

So again, why Detroit? Why would any retread or career assistant opt to sign with Detroit? Statistically speaking, the odds are forever NOT in their favor. At best, they'll lead our young team to the playoffs and be thanked with a quick boot after 3 seasons. At worst, they'll Michael Curry their way back to a career assistant coaching position.

In the end, the only thing that will bring a coach to Detroit is the guarantee of money. In 2009, we signed John Kuester supposedly for his impeccable work developing Cleveland's offense. In actuality, Kuester earned the job because Dumars' first choice, Avery Johnson, insisted on a longer-term deal and more control over the roster - two things which Dumars and the franchise refused to give up. So with Dumars still in place, is there any reason any current coach should take over our roster?

The hard answer is no, not really. In order for us to get a head coach next season, the franchise is going to have to do one of the following three things: commit to a coach for a longer contract than the standard 3 years + 1 year team option, overpay for the coach they're signing, or go after a coach that no one else wants. Whichever path they take, we've all become aware of the fact that Detroit, even with the promising frontcourt of Andre Drummond and Greg Monroe isn't exactly a prime destination for any coach, let alone one we as fans would be excited to hear about.

Regardless of who we sign in the coming weeks, we should feel lucky to have him. After all, we'll likely be going through this process again in less than 2 years, and with every coach cycled through, our odds of Dumars finding someone else to take the fall gets smaller and smaller. But as fans, don't lose hope. After all, in 55 seasons of NBA history, the Pistons have always found someone to take over the head coaching position. Just don't bet on a great coach sticking around any longer than a mediocre one.W

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