The Detroit Pistons head coaching seat was still warm when speculation began running rampant about who the next head coach would be. And while the name that was on the tip of most people's tongues was Lionel Hollins, perhaps it is time to add another name to the mix -- Michigan State University coach Tom Izzo.
That was the name floated by ESPN's Stephen A. Smith, at least. And while one should consider the source, it does make a certain amount of sense. Smith was a guest on The Chris Vernon Show in Memphis recently when he was asked about the possibility of Hollins, most recently of the Memphis Grizzlies, getting the head coach job.
Vernon tweeted about the exchange and said:
seein reports about Lionel wanting Pistons job- when I asked @stephenasmith about- he said owner will go hard after Izzo after season— Chris Vernon (@ChrisVernonShow) February 13, 2014
Intriguing, no? But being the quality unpaid blogger that I am, I actually went to the source and listened to the interview in question. What Smith actually said during the show in response to a question about Hollins and the Pistons was this:
No. He might, but I don't think so. I don't think that's who they want. I think the owner wants Tom Izzo. Remember, the owner is a $2.7 billion man that graduated from Michigan State and loves Tom Izzo. He wants Tom Izzo.
As is typical with Smith, this appears to be idle speculation masked with a kind of certainty he brings to every topic ... whether he knows what he's talking about or not. Still, it is worth pausing and thinking about a fit between Gores' Pistons and Izzo.
In 2010, the Cleveland Cavaliers (also owned by an insanely wealthy MSU alum -- Dan Gilbert) went hard after Izzo in an attempt to lure James into re-signing with the Cavs and keeping the championship window open with his hometown team.
Izzo seemed to give the proposal serious consideration. So serious, in fact, that it generated a massive grassroots campaign to keep him in East Lansing.
Once officially turning down the offer, Izzo had this to say in an official statement, "But when making a life decision, I owed it to myself and my family to do my due diligence. From that I never wavered. And I'm pleased to say I am here for life at Michigan State."
So, yes, it would be a moderately shocking turn of events for Izzo to reverse course and jump ship for the NBA, even if a jump to Auburn Hills would probably be a lot easier on his family than a jump to Cleveland.
As far as how he fits with Detroit, I would say remarkably well. As is often the case, it is best to look through this situation and consider what it means for franchise cornerstone Andre Drummond. And I'd say Izzo and Drummond would fit remarkably well.
Izzo emphasizes toughness, intensity, execution, defensive accountability, rebounding, and working for opportunities in the paint. His tough-guy approach could work well with the incredibly gifted Drummond, who has responded well to coaching of all stripes since the first moment he stepped on the floor.
And considering the talent base the Pistons are working with -- offensively skilled young big men, guards and wings who have trouble breaking teams down off the dribble, athletes that can get out and run -- his offensively philosophy meshes well with Detroit's current crop.
But there is a reason that not many coaches make the transition from the college to the pros. It's just not that easy to take these hard-charging, detail-oriented, coaches and put them in charge of millionaires and expect them to get the same kind of buy-in as they get from 18-year-old kids.
What's your take? Would Izzo make a good coach with the Detroit Pistons? Sound off in the comments.