The Detroit Pistons have taken their time with finding a replacement for former head coach and now front office advisor Dwane Casey. They’ve been linked to a number of assistant coaches around the NBA — many with ties to GM Troy Weaver.
However, it felt like the search was winding down as Milwaukee Bucks assistant Charles Lee, New Orleans Pelicans assistant Jarron Collins and Overtime Elite head of coaching Kevin Ollie interviewed as “finalists” with Pistons owner Tom Gores last last week.
Yahoo Sports! Jake Fischer shed some interesting light on the search today:
[ Lee, Collins and Ollie ] met with Detroit owner Tom Gores in Los Angeles last week, sources said, although it appears none of the three final candidates for the position left Gores with a standout impression.
That’s interesting. Fans seemed to gravitate toward Lee and Collins, but the prevailing thought and reporting was that Ollie, who played in OKC when Weaver was there, was his favorite of the favorites.
Maybe Gores didn’t see it that way? Who knows.
It gets more interesting, though:
There was also a growing sentiment among league coaching figures that a Detroit win at Tuesday night’s NBA Draft Lottery — which could have landed the league-worst Pistons the No. 1 pick and the right to select French sensation Victor Wembanyama — would have sparked a Detroit attempt to lure Williams, who overlapped with Pistons general manager Troy Weaver during his time in Oklahoma City.
The fact that landing Victor was potentially a prerequisite to pursuing Monty Williams, arguably the best coach on the market after his run with the Phoenix Suns, is laughable if it’s true. He’s not the young up-and-comer that the other crop of coaching candidates was, but Williams has proven he can develop young teams and get them on playoff runs.
His connection to Weaver is an added bonus, mostly for him, but still, good. The Pistons should still pursue him.
And, finally, there’s this:
The fact another week has nearly passed since the team’s trio of finalists interviewed with Gores in Southern California has further led several coaching representatives to question whether Detroit would perhaps reopen the search to consider more candidates.
This would really shake things up. The Pistons opening is good, but when you compare it to the Bucks, Suns and Philadelphia 76ers, it pales in comparison from a winning perspective.
The Raptors job is comparable, but who knows if you’re walking into a rebuild or a quick re-tool? Detroit with the No. 1 pick versus Detroit with the No. 5 pick affects the perception of this job, there’s no question about it.
This mostly made me think about Gores, who, thankfully, I haven’t had to think about in a few years. That’s how you know you’re doing good owner stuff — if people aren’t talking about you.
As we alllll remember, Gores meddled plenty early in his tenure as he and Stan Van Gundy pushed the pedal to the metal to attempt win at all costs. It got them two playoff berths, and two sweeps.
But in the end, it led to the franchise crashing squarely into a wall, resulting in the eventual clean-up and massive rebuild that Weaver is overseeing today. Gores, to his credit, has been very hands off since Weaver took over. He deserves a say on the coach, too.
After all, it’s his team.
But who knows? Maybe they just want to take a swing at Williams.
After all that has happened in the wake of the NBA Draft Lottery debacle, where do you stand on the next Pistons coach? Let us know.