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The most important criteria for the Pistons coaching search: Style

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The Pistons are back on their first coaching search since 2014. It’s been a little while since they’ve made a new hire, but we still have the opportunity to look back through failed candidates and learn from previous mistakes.

As we discuss candidates, let’s stroll through the most important aspects to keep in mind.

Well fitting suit

This has been an issue with Pistons coaching searches since the departure of Larry Brown. Brown set the standard in this regard, clearly showing how a properly tailored suit is the key to a successful coaching tenure.

12th Annual ESPY Awards - Show Photo by Carlo Allegri/Getty Images

Look at that. Now that’s what you look for in a coaching candidate. Check out those shoulders, that timeless cut that still works even a decade later, just the right amount of collar and cuff exposed. And for a guy whose career spanned across four decades, he shows the adaptability and ability to keep things both modern yet timeless in a really impressive way. He’d come a long way from this:

Perhaps the greatest failure of the Stan Van Gundy Era was Tim Hardaway’s suits.

Melanie Maxwell |

How can you expect to win like that?

The leadership from the top was actually pretty good. Stan Van Gundy kept his suits well fitting, modern, and his choice to typically forego a tie was usually a good one. Far better than some of those looks he trotted out in Florida. But Hardaway’s recklessness was clearly an undermining factor in the regime.

We had the opportunity to learn from the disaster of an interim tenure with John Loyer.

Good lawd. So much bad stuff going on here. The sleeves are way too short. The pants are way too long. How does that even happen? Where is this tiny armed, extra long-legged person that this clearly-off-the-rack suit was designed for hanging out? And at least he’s consistent, with his lapels way too wide and his tie at least a full inch too short.

Your tie’s length should be right in the middle of the belt fellas. This is amateur stuff. And a nice segway into our next key feature.

Nicely knotted tie

If you’re going to wear a tie, tie it right.

This was the key failure of Rick Carlisle’s time in Detroit, and always has been the biggest weakness in Carlisle’s otherwise sterling career.

Dallas Mavericks v Denver Nuggets Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

Look at that. There’s just no reason for it. The suit fits well, colors compliment each other nicely, and he gets the width of the tie right. The planning is solid, but execution is off.

It’s a sign of poor decision-making under pressure. The tie’s the last thing to finish up before getting ready. Are you going to panic and just go with the four-in-hand or show the poise to take the time to properly execute a nice half-windsor before clipping it up, tossing on the jacket, and getting out the door?

Meanwhile, take a look at Steve Kerr.

Portland Trail Blazers v Golden State Warriors Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Now that’s a guy who even Michael Jordan is passing off to for the championship winning three point shot, knowing he’s going to knock it down.

The clock’s winding down. Do you panic and rush it? Nah. A perfect knot, perfectly straight, perfect length. Swoosh.

Strong accessory game

You surely noticed clipping it up, right? It’s one of the biggest issues in coaching today. These coaches out there just letting their ties do whatever. What a mess.

Lawrence Frank could have made things work in Detroit. But if you remember back, he set something of an ultimatum with Joe Dumars in 2013 - either give him an extension so that he wasn’t a lame duck, or fire him. Dumars went with the latter. And Frank has no one to blame but himself.

Check this out:

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That’s what happens. That lack of a tie clip left him doomed.

Despite doing quite a bit right, a suit cut so that it didn’t over-empathize is comparatively short stature, some good colors going on there, unleashing the Will Bynum-Andre Drummond pick and roll machine, it wasn’t going to be enough when you’re letting easy opportunities like a tie clip pass by.

(Though, this one is a generous example. By and large, Frank’s wardrobe decisions while coaching the Pistons were a mess. Wide lapels, wide ties, tying his tie so that it nearly went to his knees, nearly everything he could do to remind you that he was relatively short.)

Back to the tie thing though, it’s been a consistent for every coach let go this offseason.

David Fizdale: No tie clip.

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Mike Budenholzer: No tie clip.

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Steve Clifford: No tie clip.

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Jeff Hornacek: No tie clip.

New York Knicks v Golden State Warriors Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Frank Vogel: No tie clip.

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And that’s what happens when you don’t wear a tie clip. You’re tie just flops around out of place. How do teams expect players to respect their coach when they don’t even respect their ties enough to keep them in place with a crisp, neat clip?

The problem is that I couldn’t find a picture of a single coach in the NBA including a tie clip in their wardrobe. The madness!

If the Pistons can pull off a hire who can commit to regularly donning a tie clip, they’ll have a Coach of the Year candidate on their hands.

But accessories don’t stop there. Part of what made Larry Brown great were those tortoiseshell glasses that were ahead of his time. So impressive. Or Erik Spoelstra’s ability to spot a subtle but sharp belt.

Leadership and coaching abilities

Blah, blah, blah. Worth considering, but far less important than the previously mentioned items.


So how do our candidates size up?

Mike Budenholzer

Atlanta Hawks v Denver Nuggets Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

Surprisingly good! Unassuming, but solid.

Jerry Stackhouse

Carlos Osorio, AP

That’s a NBA ready coach.

Jay Wright

Michigan v Villanova Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images

Wright is in a league of his own. Even rocking the tie clip, thankyouverymuch. But for the Pistons? He’s too good.

Pistons: hey

Jay: lol dream on

Frank Vogel

Orlando Magic v Charlotte Hornets Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

His suits are consistently too big, his knots are usually undersized and off center. That’s a bad combination.

Becky Hammon

NBA: San Antonio Spurs at Phoenix Suns Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

I don’t know anything about women’s coaching style, but she definitely seems like she knows what she’s doing. Solid.

Stephen Silas

NBA: Charlotte Hornets at Detroit Pistons Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

Silas is in a bit of a tough spot. He’s super skinny, so mistakes are going to hit particularly hard. An oversized suit or wide tie are going to make him look like he’s swimming in his clothes. But when he’s on, he’s on.

Monty Williams

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Williams tends to find himself on worst dressed coaches lists, but it’s unfortunate. He clearly has his fundamentals down at times, but just makes some lousy decisions when he steps out of the box. Mock turtlenecks, three buttons, tan on tan on tan, extra baggy pants, just no. Too risky of a candidate.

Ime Udoka

Paul Sancya/Associated Press

Rock solid credentials.

Tom Izzo

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-Second Round- Michigan State Spartans vs Syracuse Orange Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

As the guys said on the DBB podcast, Izzo’s style works for college but there’s just no way it translates to the league. Hard pass.

By and large, there are some really solid candidates up there? Who gets your vote? Jerry Stackhouse, with his boundary pushing? Bud’s boring but solid look? Udoka’s refined approach? Any other under the radar stylish assistants out there?


Who ya got?

This poll is closed

  • 18%
    Mike Budenholzer
    (107 votes)
  • 39%
    Jerry Stackhouse
    (235 votes)
  • 10%
    Jay Wright
    (61 votes)
  • 2%
    Frank Vogel
    (13 votes)
  • 16%
    Becky Hammon
    (95 votes)
  • 1%
    Stephen Silas
    (10 votes)
  • 1%
    Monty Williams
    (7 votes)
  • 6%
    Ime Udoka
    (37 votes)
  • 4%
    Tom Izzo
    (25 votes)
590 votes total Vote Now