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Pistons ‘likely’ to hire skills guru Tim Grgurich to coaching staff

Grgurich is renowned for his skill development work and annual Vegas summer camp

Tom Crean, left, and Tim Grgurich
Tom Crean, left, and Tim Grgurich
@TomCrean Twitter account

Tim Grgurich, a pioneer of basketball skill development and one of the most well-regarded coaches in the NBA is “likely” to join the Detroit Pistons coaching staff, according to Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press.

Grgurich, 76, has floated around on special assignment work for many NBA teams over the years, most recently working with the corps. of young players in Milwaukee. He spent years under George Karl and before that was known as Jerry Tarkanian’s right hand man at UNLV.

Pistons head coach Dwane Casey got his fist NBA coaching gig under Karl in Seattle, and he knows Grgurich extremely well.

It is unclear in what capacity he would work in Detroit. In Milwaukee he was reportedly not working full time, and he was let go when Jason Kidd was fired.

Grgurich is definitely considered a legend in coaching circles for his development work. He was nominated in 2016 for the Tex Winter Assistant Coach Lifetime Impact award by the National Basketball Coaches Association. He was lauded for “contributions to basketball cannot be mentioned without the enormous role he has played in shaping the next generation of NBA players and coaches. Coach Grgurich’s impact extends to Shawn Kemp, Gary Payton, Bill Cartwright, Terry Stotts, Bob Weiss, Scottie Pippen, Steve Kerr, Stephon Marbury, Nick Van Exel, Carmelo Anthony, Marcus Camby, Kenyon Martin, Allen Iverson, LaMarcus Aldridge, and Chauncey Billups.”

He runs coaches clinics including a famous camp out of Las Vegas that attracts plenty of pros and coaches alike. Notes from a 2013 clinic online highlight some takeaway quotes, and is a peek into why Detroit, considering the struggles of its young personnel, might be interested in his services.


  • “If you can’t teach, you can’t coach”
  • “Must become a teacher before you become a coach.”
  • “Cut to score, cut hard”
  • “Everyone wants to dribble now, we have forgot the pass. Passing teams win championships.”
  • “Expect the unexpected”
  • “Must build trust with your players”

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel wrote a profile of him in 2016, and here are the two quotes that stuck out most to me:

“You talk about needing balance in your life; I don’t think he has any balance,” said Bucks forward Steve Novak. “I think he is basketball 24-7 and I think he loves it.


“He’s been responsible not only for developing a lot of good NBA careers but for saving a lot of NBA careers,” Bucks assistant Greg Foster said. “Guys that have totally been written off, guys that teams have wanted to trade or get rid of, guys that have lost total confidence in their own ability.

Grgurich has no shortage of evangelists for his abilities.

Tom Crean

Rick Carlisle:

“There have been two major forces in the development of players and coaches over the last 20 years: Pete Newell and Tim Grgurich,” Dallas coach Rick Carlisle told the Boston Globe. Only Carlisle said that back in 2004, when he was coaching Indiana and spending summer days both at the Grgurich camp and at Newell’s more famous “big man” variation.

Pete Prancia