UPDATE: Maurice Cheeks has been named the next head coach of the Detroit Pistons. Personally I disagree with the hiring, but the deal is done.
After firing Lawrence Frank recently, the Detroit have many options on who they can hire as their new head coach. This will be the Pistons 4th head coach since 2008, the last time they made the playoffs. With the emergence of Greg Monroe and the development of Brandon Knight and Andre Drummond, the Pistons need to hire a coach that will be able to utilize the talent this team has. Here are some options the Pistons have.
OPTION 1: Brian Shaw – Assistant Coach of Indiana Pacers
Shaw is being heavily targeted by multiple teams currently. There’s definitely a reason why Phil Jackson recommends this guy to be the Pistons next head coach and it can be seen with his work in Indiana, helping coach the Pacers to the Eastern Conference Finals and pushing the Miami Heat to seven games. Shaw is a former combo guard which can help with the development of Brandon Knight, who is also a combo guard. Shaw’s experience in developing a big man like Roy Hibbert can also be translated to Andre Drummond who, like Hibbert, is a big man who can protect the rim and crash the glass. Shaw can be the guy to push Drummond to the next level. Depending on who the Pistons take with the 8th pick in the 2013 draft, Shaw’s development of Paul George can be key. If Shaw becomes the next head coach of the Pistons, picking Victor Oladipo or Shabazz Muhammad would make sense for the franchise. The only downside to Shaw is that he’s the only option who has no head coaching experience.
OPTION 2: Nate McMillan - former head coach of Seattle Supersonics and Portland Trailblazers
A coach for 11 and a half years, McMillan is no stranger to resurrecting franchises. McMillan led the Seattle Supersonics from the bottom of the division to division champions in the span of five years. He left the Supersonics for a more high paying position with the Portland Trailblazers. McMillan quickly changed the culture of the “Jailblazers,” taking the Blazers to the playoffs in four years. The Pistons are loaded with young talent that McMillan can mesh to become playoff contenders. He helped players such as Brandon Roy, LaMarcus Aldridge, Nicholas Batum, Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis reach their full potential. McMillan can help the Pistons and their young guns reach their gull potential. The problem with McMillan is that it always took him multiple years for his teams to blossom and the Pistons are looking to win now and make the next step.
OPTION 3: Maurice Cheeks – assistant coach of Oklahoma City Thunder
Pistons GM Joe Dumars is considering Cheeks as a finalist for the head coaching vacancy and it can be due to his work in OKC. Cheeks helped develop players such as Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, James Harden and Serge Ibaka. Cheeks can model Knight into a guard like himself. As a player, Cheeks was a floor general who got buckets when the opportunities showed. Cheeks could also turn Brandon Knight into a Russell Westbrook esque player as both guards are shoot first guards. Andre Drummond is also very similar to Serge Ibaka as defensive enforcers around the paint. While he could help Detroit in these aspects, Cheeks is the weakest candidate on this list. As a head coach, Cheeks led the Portland Trailblazers and Philadelphia 76ers a combined three times out of the six years of head coaching experience he has and has never gotten past the first round. His control of the locker room has also been in question as seen in his tenure with the Blazers.
OPTION 4: George Karl – former head coach of Denver Nuggets
Karl is easily the most accomplished out of all of the coaches. This years recipient of Coach of the Year, Karl has been a head coach for over 20 years.With his experience, Karl can help all of the players to find their niche on the team immediately. The Pistons can easily make the playoffs just with Karl as their head coach. While Karl is easily the best available option on the coaching market, the biggest concern with Karl is age. He missed time with the Nuggets after being diagnosed with cancer. Karl hasn’t pursued any jobs as of now, which could mean Karl will no longer coach. So while Karl is the best option for the Pistons, there’s no telling on if the Pistons are going to pursue him.
Ultimately, the Pistons will probably hire Nate McMillan as their next head coach. With his experience in turning around franchises and his approval by Joe Dumars, he will get to take over the reigns as coach and, hopefully, lead the Pistons back to playoff glory.
About the Author
Written by Mark Kim
A student at the University of Missouri-Columbia looking to major in Sports Journalism.