According to Marc Stein, the Pistons would prefer to hire a new head coach who already has experience sitting in the lead man’s chair on a NBA sideline.
Woodson, Frank atop Pistons’ list
Of the five known candidates for job, sources say that former Pistons assistant Mike Woodson is still the closest thing to a favorite, thanks largely to Woodson’s good working relationship with Pistons president of basketball operations Joe Dumars and the fact that Detroit would know exactly what it’s getting after Woodson’s work under Larry Brown during the Pistons’ 2004 title run.
Yet sources say that one reason Detroit’s search has dragged out so long is the strong impression that Lawrence Frank made on new Pistons owner Tom Gores and his advisers, among them former New York Knicks executive Dave Checketts.
Detroit’s choice, then, appears to be a tossup between the unattached Woodson and Frank, who remains part of Doc Rivers’ staff in Boston.
The other three known candidates to get interviews are Kelvin Sampson (about to leave Milwaukee to become Kevin McHale’s lead assistant in Houston), Pistons legend Bill Laimbeer (last seen on Rambis’ staff in Minnesota) and Checketts favorite Patrick Ewing (from Stan Van Gundy’s staff in Orlando). But sources have maintained throughout the process that Detroit’s preference is to hire a coach with previous head-coaching experience in the NBA after the recent unsuccessful stints for first-time head coaches Kuester and Michael Curry.
If this is, in fact, the case, then …
Joe Dumars should eventually hire Lawrence Frank, as the next head coach for Detroit. In all likelihood, the Pistons would not be able to win the NBA Championship under Frank’s direction, sometime down-the-road, but his career to-date does indicate that he has “the stuff” required – i.e. in terms of having: 1) A good conceptual framework for the way he wants his team to play, based on sound principles of Defense, Offense and Rebounding; 2) The ability to communicate effectively with his best players; 3) A sound grasp of X’s and O’s; and, 4) The ability, and the character, to withstand “the heat” involved with the position; etc. – to direct a first-class squad that is more than capable of consistently competing for a Top 6 playoff position … which would be a solid step forward for an operation that has gone significantly backwards each of the last 3 seasons working under less-than stellar head coaches without proven records of success in the NBA.