Sean Sweeney is joining the Detroit Pistons as an assistant coach on Dwane Casey’s staff, according to a report from Eurohoops.net.
Marc Stein of the New York Times reported earlier that Detroit was “making a hard push” to hire Sweeney. The Eurohoops report indicates that Sweeney will sign a multi-year deal and will be a “prominent” assistant under Casey.
Sweeney is well-regarded for his player development work and was the coach closest to Giannis Antetokounmpo for the past several years in Milwaukee, and he also worked closely with Thon Maker and other young Bucks players to develop their games. He came to the Bucks via the Brooklyn Nets when Jason Kidd was hired in Milwaukee.
When Kidd was fired, ESPN’s Eric Nehm wrote about the decision and touched on Sweeney’s role a bit:
Antetokounmpo learned a lot from Kidd, but also spends a large majority of his life with Bucks assistant coach Sean Sweeney. It’s impossible to go a day without seeing those two together on the practice floor, walking to the film room, or simply discussing something together. They’re inseparable, but also they might have to be separated if Sweeney is no longer with the team later this week. He is, after all, a Kidd hire and an assistant that had no other connection to the organization before Kidd brought him on the staff.
The other guy Sweeney spends a lot of time with is Antetokounmpo’s regular workout partner, Thon Maker. Before last night’s game, Maker took questions from the media about how he would deal with losing the only coaching staff he’s ever known and largely talked about just focusing on the game. But at the end of his session, he was asked about how he moves on after this and how he would deal with the possibility of losing Sweeney, who he has grown close to and learned a lot from.
Before answering, Maker quickly swiveled in his locker chair and reached for the wood cabinet next to him to knock on wood in hopes that Sweeney would remain in Milwaukee. He then said, “I don’t know, man. Just approach each day like how we always did and focus on the basketball….I don’t know.”
He was slated to be the only coach from the Kidd regime retained under Mike Budenholzer. Sweeney also was the chief architect of Kidd’s hyper-aggressive and unsuccessful defensive scheme in Milwaukee, but I’m gonna lay most of that blame at the feet of Kidd, who was definitely an unorthodox coach.
He has been an NBA coach since 2011, getting his start as an assistant video coordinator with the Nets. Eurohoops, which broke the Sweeney hiring (though it is at present, the only outlet to announce the hiring) sat down with Sweeney in March 2017.