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NBA rumors: Darrell Walker a candidate for Pistons' coaching job

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The Knicks assistant coach has a long history with the Pistons ... but that doesn't mean he should be considered for the job.

Beth Hall-USA TODAY Sports

So, this is apparently a thing:

I'm not sure what to think about this. There's so much stink associated with the Pistons during Walker's recent stint in Detroit -- he coached under Michael Curry and John Kuester, let me remind you -- that I'd prefer to just wash my hands of the whole era. That's probably not fair, but I doubt I'm alone thinking this.

In addition to his coaching history with the Pistons, Walker also played alongside Joe Dumars in Detroit over parts of two seasons from 1991-93. Take that for what it's worth. (Probably not much; dude's been around the block a few times since then.)

Just for kicks, I searched DBB's archives for Walker's name. I found three results, including this nugget from 2009 summer league, discussing (the wrong) DaJuan Summers:

"Summers is a player and I don't know how he goes 35 in the draft," Walker said after Detroit's 86-77 win Friday at Cox Pavilion. "Things happen in the NBA Draft. I ain't crazy, I understand that but he's a legitimate NBA player. And I think he's going to get some legitimate minutes." [...]

"I am going to say this one more time: I never seen him play in college. I never saw his workouts. He's NBA ready. I'm sure he's going to going to have some knocks and ups and downs, but he's NBA ready. He's a player."
Heh.

In any case, Walker does have head coaching experience: he took over the Toronto Raptors in 1996-97, just their second year of existence, going 30-52 as a 35-year-old rookie head coach. He was fired the very next year, though, after the Raptors opened the season 11-38. They eventually finished 5-28 under Butch Carter.

(To put in context how long ago this was, consider: in Walker's first year, he coached Marcus Camby as a rookie; in his second, he coached Chauncey Billups as a rookie. Walker also coached current Pistons assistants Dee Brown and Roy Rogers. Small world.)

Two years later, Walker was on the other end of a firing: he finished the 1999-2000 season as the Washington Wizards' interim head coach, going 15-23, after Gar Heard was fired. Leonard Hamilton was hired the following season, although Walker stuck with Washington in a front office position, beginning his journey of working in the background (as an exec, a scout, an assistant coach) while waiting for his next opportunity in the spotlight. (He made his desire to coach again quite clear -- "My goal is to become a head coach again in the NBA," he said in a 2008 interview.)

All in all, Walker has a 56-113 career record over parts of three years. Those numbers aren't pretty, but they're somewhat justifiable -- he coached an expansion team in its second and third year of existence, and he coached a team that struggled enough to get its original coach fired. It still doesn't mean I want him anywhere near Detroit, though.

In any case, when asked about the Pistons rumor, Knicks coach Mike Woodson made a point to stump for his assistant. From Steve Popper of NorthJersey.com:

"I haven’t heard a whole lot about it," Woodson said. "All my staff should be up for a lot of jobs. You can print that because they’re pretty good at what they do. Herb [Williams] and Darrell and Jim Todd have done a tremendous job. There are a lot of jobs open. I might need to get on the horn and start making some calls and promoting them a little more. I think that they’re ready and the system has been proven that it works. If he’s up for it, I hope they give him a serious shot at it."

Now your thoughts.

Update: Ha, I'm not alone: