When hand-selected coach Rick Carlisle took a Pistons team to 100 wins in two seasons, it looked as if another Chuck Daly-esque era had begun for the Pistons. Fans had begun to return in large numbers to the Palace and the team had a solid core of players. The malcontent Dumars was wooed by Larry Brown’s flirtations shortly thereafter and Carlisle was quickly kicked to the curb. The year was 2003 and Pistons basketball was on the threshold of a third championship. Now six years later, Detroit and Dumars will be in search for its tenth head coach since Chuck Daly left town.
Michael Curry is the latest Pistons coach to be shown the door by Pistons management. The former Piston himself, Curry looked overmatched in a league where it takes much more than winning to be successful. In fact, Curry could not even accomplish that step. He had the worst Pistons season in a decade and fought with players along the way.
If the Cavs coach Mike Brown can win NBA Coach of the Year because he has some guy named LeBron, it seems simple that making friends with the players would be a top priority. Sure, expectations are tremendous in this town for our winter sports teams, but Curry seemed better suited for organizational work than roaming the Pistons sidelines.
The initial candidates for the next Pistons coach are a who’s who of potential disasters. While I could see Avery Johnson being somewhat successful with a bunch of younger players, I believe that Doug Collins or Bill Laimbeer would be such huge disasters for the team. If anybody thinks that a stubborn, hard-nosed coach is something our team needs, just look at how admiral-style coaches fare in this league. Both coaches in the NBA Finals this year, Phil Jackson or Stan Van Gundy, had issues with their stars and were barely able to keep their team’s attention throughout the year. A so-called ‘players coach’ who can develop young talent is needed to get this ship back on line soon.
If 2010 does not go well for the Pistons they may begin to suffer mightily in the box office returns.