Keith Langlois has a lengthy Q&A with Michael Curry on Pistons.com. Some highlights:
Langlois: You also said the other day you had opportunities to be an assistant coach when you retired yet you decided to go the administrative route with the league office for two years. Just talk about why you decided to go that route if you knew you wanted to be a head coach.
Curry: It’s funny. As you sit around, you prepare and I’ve always thought at times it’s difficult to get to a point unless people really see you in that light. I’ve seen some guys I thought were really good coaches that everyone kind of saw as an assistant coach. I didn’t want to take a job as an assistant just to be an assistant coach. I wanted to be a head coach. I’m a leader, I have a strong personality and I crave leadership positions. So that wasn’t quite the offers that were there when I first came out, once I interviewed with the league office, with what I could do in basketball operations and what I would be able to do within the D-League, it would be the best of both worlds. It would quench my thirst as far as the actual and on-the-court aspect in the D-League and the business side of basketball working in basketball operations.
Langlois: But it was done with the thought of becoming a head coach in mind, not a general manager?
Curry: I’ve always liked that part of basketball as well, being a general manager or being a head coach. Either one of those leadership positions. I knew after my two years in the league office, just talking with guys and GMs around the league and some of the interaction I’ve had with players. A lot of guys outside where I’ve been, they didn’t know me as well. But in that same setting, they knew I possessed the qualities to lead. Halfway through my second year in the league office, I knew that right now I craved being on the court more so than being a general manager. If I was a general manager right now, I’d probably get in my own way – in the way of the coach I hire – because I still see a lot of things I want to do and being on the court actually coaching is one of those things.
One of the things that impresses me the most about Curry is how calmly confident he is. He knew he'd be a head coach but didn't want to settle for taking the usual path to success. And reading his answer to the quest above, I get the feeling he knows he'll eventually be a GM some day, as well. It's rare to see a new coach speak so candidly about his ambition.
His thoughts on holding players accountable:
[Players] want playing time. When you go out here you have 15 players. If you preach certain things to the guys and this is what you are going to hold them accountable for, if you allow two or three guys to do what they want to do, then not only those two or three are gone but you lose the other 10 that are not playing at the time. The best thing to do is make sure you follow what you’re teaching the guys and what you’re saying are your points of emphasis and make sure you keep those other 12 that are doing right and the other two or three, they’ll conform and be the way you want them to be.
I said this before, but I hope he's serious, and I hope he doesn't change his mind come playoff time.
His thoughts on some of the team's young players:
Amir Johnson has to be more consistent every day and I think we have to coach him more consistent. What I mean by that is, he’s not a guy who can take two days away from the gym and come back and still be playing at the same level. As you saw when he played, he played four games in a row and he played really good. If you don’t play him for two games, he doesn’t go all the way back down but he takes a step backward. We have to find a way to make sure we give him consistent minutes and a consistent role so he can grow. Hopefully, once he starts to grow and get that consistency, he’ll realize how valuable he can be for us as a team.
Stuckey can take a big leap. With increased minutes, we want to put things in place to make sure he can stay aggressive when he’s out on the court. The biggest thing for him this year was trying to figure out when to be aggressive and when not to be aggressive. Sometimes he erred on not being aggressive. We want him to err on the side of being aggressive. Be overly aggressive and let us calm you down. That’s sort of our thought process with Stuckey.
Arron is great. He’s one of the few guys that I just thought never had a bad game. The way he prepares every day, he’s going to be a model where he doesn’t stand out so much by the way he prepares – we have to get everyone else preparing that same way every day. The way he prepares, the way he competes every day, every day in practice, he is the poster boy for the way we have to be.
Afflalo definitely gets overlooked when most people talk about Detroit's young players, but that's exceptionally high praise. If you've been paying attention, though, it's also not surprising -- I've heard Dumars and Flip Saunders say as much all year. No matter what your impressions are of Afflalo's game right now, don't underestimate him -- with that kind of drive, anything is possible.