When Stan Van Gundy was hired as head coach and president of basketball operations one of the first questions was whether he could handle both positions. Van Gundy said from the beginning he planned to delegate and that team owner Tom Gores had committed to expanding the front office staff from what the team was operating under with Joe Dumars in charge.
Now David Mayo of MLive has a report that puts those plans into sharper focus and it entails a huge expansion of the team's front office as well as scouting and coaching positions.
The takeaway sentence: "The Pistons will have Van Gundy as president, Jeff Bower as general manager, three assistant general managers or their equivalent, and significant staffs under each of the assistants to address analytics and scouting when all hiring is done."
The first two assistant GM positions have already been filled with the previously announced Brian Wright, who worked with Van Gundy in Orlando, and Ken Catanella who is a holdover from the previous regime and has a deep background in analytics.
A strong favorite for the third position is Mark Hughes, a Michigan native who played on University of Michigan's title team in 1989, but interviews for the position are ongoing, Mayo reports.
Even more intriguing is the news that Tom Gores is bringing in an information technology expert from Platinum Equity to "lend data-handling advice for the (analytics) department being beefed up most.
For a hint at what a top-notch IT expert in data analysis can do for a basketball team you have to read this truly excellent piece from Zach Lowe about the Toronto Raptors mining the SportsVu cameras and turning the 1s and 0s into a visual representation of every play of every game tracking every player down to the inch. It's honestly one of the best sports stories I've read in several years.
Another juicy bit of info Mayo confirms in the article is the job description of each assistant GM: one for analytics and data; one for professional scouting, the D-League and international players; one for draft preparation, college scouting and draft-eligible international players.
Wright, Mayo reports, is likely to handle draft prep and college scouting as that closely aligns with his previous responsibilities in Orlando.
The team is also going to hire two more assistant coaches, a video coordinator and there is still talk of hiring a specialized coach such as a big-man or shooting coach, Mayo writes.
As Van Gundy's plans come into sharper focus, I'm almost as excited to track the offseason development of the front office makeover as I am to see the makeover on the roster.