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Detroit Pistons GM candidates: Jeff Bower would bring quality experience

Reports indicate that Joe Dumars could be resigning before the season’s end. In the latest of a series of candidate profiles, we review Jeff Bower, who helped build a promising Hornets squad that was undermined by injuries.

2013-14: Marist College, Head Coach
2009-10: New Orleans Hornets, Interim Head Coach
2005-10: New Orleans Hornets, General Manager
2004-05: New Orleans Hornets, Director of Player Personnel
2003-04: New Orleans Hornets, Assistant Coach
2001-03: Charlotte/New Orleans Hornets, General Manager
2000-01: Charlotte Hornets, Assistant General Manager
1995-00: Charlotte Hornets, Advance Scout, Director of Scouting
1986-95: Marist College, Assistant Coach
1983-86: Penn State, Assistant Coach

You'd be hard pressed to find a GM candidate with more or a wider variety of experience than Jeff Bower. He got his chops as a scout and coach, eventually making his way to the top seat as a general manager in with the Hornets. Though he didn't hold the job for long, he didn't do a half bad job.

Bower was a part of the Hornets throughout the best times of the Hornets, though it's impossible to say how much of a role he played in the team's success until jumping into the general manager seat. From there, he helped build the promising young core of Chris Paul, David West, Tyson Chandler, and Peja Stojakovic that was ultimately undermined by injuries - and one key mistake.

The squad showed promise with winning 56 games in 2008 and 49 in 2009. But Chandler struggled with chronic injuries, so much so that the team actually tried to give him away to Oklahoma City in a trade for Joe Smith, Chris Wilcox, and DeVon Hardin that was rescinded due to a failed physical.

Bower eventually succeeded in trading Chandler in a deal for Emeka Okafor. But Paul had a close off-court relationship as well, and Okafor's fit was never quite the same. Paul missed much of the following season and Hornets fell under .500, with Bower finishing the season coaching the roster he had assembled. Bower left the team the following season, and Chris Paul was traded the year after for pennies on the dollar, spurred by concerns that he would walk as a free agent.

Giving up on Tyson Chandler was essentially the move that led to the core crumbling, even though the logic was not all that poor at the time. Entering the league at 19 years old and with eight seasons of mileage under him, it was presumed that his body was breaking down. Okafor was the same age and with four years of college experience, it was presumed he had more years left in the game. Both were strong defensive players, but Chandler's athleticism and pick-and-roll synergy with Paul was sorely missed.

And as we know in retrospect, Chandler went on to have a healthy bounce-back season in helping the Mavericks win a title in 2011 and won Defensive Player of the Year the following season with the Knicks.

Building that promising core was no small feat though. His initial acquisition of Chandler's massive contract from the Bulls and putting $64 million toward Stojakovic were massive financial risks. Though neither worked out, it's debatable whether they were actually mistakes.

During Bower's tenure with the Hornets, his draft record was mostly solid, including Paul, West, J.R. Smith, Brandon Bass, and Darren Collison - although there were several duds mixed in there as well.

Bower picked the clipboard back up this season with Marist College, a program that hasn't had a winning season since 2008. They went 12-19, but Bower did have some interesting comments when he took the job on utilizing information technology and analytics to help build a comprehensive approach to the program. He even incorporated a personality assessment into his recruiting.

About his approach to analytics in coaching, he said, ""You don't know until you track something. I think it can point out trends and patterns and get you to information much quicker than traditional methods of standard observation. I see the reaction from players when you show them the hard facts as opposed to vague generalities. Players like to be told the truth and what it is they need to improve on. Measuring and monitoring things give you the data and facts to help make those areas more evident to your players."

Pros: Experience as a GM, a track record with some measure of success on a mid-market team. Versatile background mix between coaching and scouting, with even some analytics mixed in. Young enough to have long-term potential.
Cons: Was ultimately unsuccessful as a GM, giving him the dreaded re-tread quality. Seems content at Marist - would he actually leave? Unfortunately, he shaved what was a magnificent mustache.

Now, your thoughts, DBB.