Brian Shaw (left) coached for years under Phil Jackson in addition to playing in the NBA, thus leading to his possible emergence as a candidate to coach the Detroit Pistons. (Raps Fan, Flickr)
The Detroit Pistons search for a new head coach has started to become action based and not simply centered around talk or innuendo during the first two days of this week.
Monday and Tuesday were the first interview days for the Pistons, as the team spoke with Lindsey Hunter the first day of the week and Nate McMillan yesterday according to Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press. As we’ve previously detailed, each has head coaching experience with McMillan being the clear leader in career accomplishments behind the bench. As Ellis points out, it’s interesting the first two candidates also have playing experience, a variable which could matter to Detroit following Lawrence Frank’s reign, a coach who may have been disrespected or tuned out having never been an NBA player.
News also came out, courtesy of Ellis as well, that the Pistons were planning to cast a wider net in their search for a new boss. Brian Shaw, an assistant for the Indiana Pacers and David Fizdale, an assistent for the Miami Heat were reported to be on the team’s wish list, in addition to several others. ESPN’s Marc Stein reported that the Pistons might have interest in Kelvin Sampson, an assistant coach for the Houston Rockets, although Ellis has stuck with his sources which have previously disagreed with that assessment.
The important thing to take away from this week’s latest coaching news? Patience. Shaw and Fizdale are coaching teams which could eventually meet up later in the playoffs, and Sampson’s team is also fighting for their postseason lives. Another potential replacement, Mike Budenholzer, is coaching with the San Antonio Spurs, a team which could make an elongated title run. Knowing this, don’t expect action to happen soon, especially as a clearer profile of the ideal candidate shapes up. So far, coaching experience and playing experience seems to matter the most, making McMillan, Hunter and Shaw the top contenders.
This is a hire that Detroit must get right, so if the team decides to wait on selecting a coach to interview a Fizdale, Shaw or Budenholzer for diligence-sake, it might not be a terrible move. McMillian (and Hunter, primarily) aren’t going anywhere on the market as of yet, while Shaw, an expected hot commodity, has already been contacted by the Philadelphia 76ers. This elongated process has just begun, and considering McMillan has been spoken to early by the Pistons and likely knows where he stands, looking at and speaking with a few other assistants would be no knock on his abilities.
Just one week after the first two candidates surfaced, their initial interview process has begun and other contending names have emerged as well, allowing a profile to be cast. Clearly, things are beginning to move forward rapidly in the search for the next new Pistons’ head coach.
Max DeMara is a senior editor at The Detroit Sports Site. You can find him on Twitter @SportsGuyTheMax