Even though Maurice Cheeks and Nate McMillan reportedly lead the competition, the Pistons continue to interview prospective coaching candidates to replace Lawrence Frank. Earlier this week, Bulls assistant Adrian Griffin got a phone interview, and next on the list might be former Hawks head coach Larry Drew.
From Vincent Goodwill of the Detroit News:
Former Atlanta Hawks coach Larry Drew wouldn't mind an interview with the Pistons, and there had been mutual interest, sources familiar with the situation told The Detroit News.
[...] The way Drew handled a combustible team, with expiring contracts and a team that wasn't expected to do much but earned a playoff berth, impressed some in the Pistons' organization.
Quick side note: after reports of tension between Joe Dumars and Phil Jackson, it's kind of interesting trying to read between the lines when you see a statement like "some in the Pistons' organization," which kinda/sorta hints that not everyone feels the same way. Makes you wonder who's thinking (and leaking) what, you know? But I digress ...
If the Pistons have legitimate interest, they better pick up the phone soon: Drew has already interviewed twice with Milwaukee and is reportedly a finalist for the Bucks job alongside Kelvim Sampson.
Irrelevant bit of trivia: Drew has a bit of a Detroit connection, as his 10-year playing career actually began with the Pistons in 1980-81. (For those trying to do the math at home, this was five years before Joe Dumars' rookie year -- some of Drew's notable teammates included John Long, Greg Kelser and Bob McAdoo.)
After spending six years on Mike Woodson's staff in Atlanta, Drew took over as head coach the last three years, earning a 128-102 record (.556). The Hawks made the playoffs the past three years, only once making it out of the first round.
I'm not sure any of those teams ever lost a series they should have won, but Drew didn't help matters with frustrating substitution patterns, as SB Nation's Tom Ziller complained out last month. In Game 1 against the Bulls, Drew sat Al Horford as soon as he received his second foul in the first half, ultimately resulting in Horford playing just 28 minutes. From Ziller:
Horford sat, the Hawks' momentum was blunted and the Pacers won. And Horford finished with three fouls for the game.
This is a persistent issue with some coaches, but Drew might be the league's top offender, with Horford as the victim. It makes no sense on so many levels! Horford is not remotely foul prone -- he averaged 2.2 per game while playing 37 minutes a night this season. Drew has been his coach all year. He has seen first-hand that Horford can defend really well without fouling.
[...] At two fouls, which is where Horford was when yanked, he would have had to pick up fouls at more than double his normal rate while playing the entire second half and one overtime to foul out.
I think you take that risk when the alternative is sitting your best player. After all, the worst thing that could happen is that ... your best player would have to sit! You know how awesome people get sandwiches named after them? This move is not awesome and it should be called The Larry Drew.
It's just one example, sure, but it also looks like a microcosm of nervous, un-innovative thinking. The Pistons aren't exactly thinking outside of the box with their other candidates -- especially since the Zeljko Obradovic chatter died as quickly as it started -- but substitute "Drummond" for "Horford" in that blockquote above and try to tell yourself you'd really be OK with Drew's arrival. Can't do it, can you?
Now your thoughts.