The Detroit Pistons reportedly want to interview former player Lindsey Hunter to be their next head coach. Hiring him would be a big mistake. (Raps Fan, Flickr)
If the Detroit Pistons are truly intent on bottoming out as a franchise, hiring former guard Lindsey Hunter as the team’s next head coach would be an excellent step in that direction.
It was reported yesterday that Hunter, who led the Phoenix Suns to an embarrassing 12-29 finish this season on an interim basis, would certainly be on the short list to interview for the head coaching position in Detroit.
All aboard! Here we go again on another Pistons coaching carousel, where Dumars apparently continually learns nothing from his past mistakes. Does the name Michael Curry even ring a bell? Supposedly a “great communicator” with an “insight into the minds of players,” Curry was clueless on the bench and worse in the locker room, managing to leave things in worse shape than he found them. It can be argued that the Pistons are still trying to recover from his Chernobyl-like effect on the team.
Now enter Hunter, another well-respected former Piston with all the right credentials in Dumars’ eyes, meaning he dresses nice, is a friend and has playing ties to the organization. Despite insistences that experience matters in this search, if the Pistons are willing to talk to Hunter, clearly that isn’t the case. Three lousy months on the job hardly makes someone qualified to take over as a head man in the NBA. Prior to that, Hunter’s first job was in a player development role. Longtime assistants like Brian Shaw and Mike Budenholzer would be better, more experienced choices.
While the Pistons were busy finishing the season unnoticeably, the Suns under Hunter were threatening to steal ping pong balls in the draft lottery with plenty of dysfunction along the way during a miserable finish. Here’s a nugget of just how bad things had gotten: Michael Beasley stopped listening to his Phoenix coaching staff, and Hunter, for his part, apparently stopped listening to Beasley, too. Sounds a lot like the communication and relationship problems that were seen under Curry, and something common in situations where a rookie coach garners no respect from veterans.
As a result, Phoenix fans are apparently downright giddy at the prospects of being rid of Hunter. A smattering of comments on azcentral.com’s story on this issue revealed relative jubilation at the news. Here’s a sample:
“If the Detroit Pistons want Lindsey Hunter then that should have red flags going off all over planet orange. Let them have him!”
“Here’s hoping Lindsey Hunter is hired as a head coach anywhere other than Phoenix. Good riddance.”
“Don’t let the door hit you on the (expletive)”
Sounds promising. The Pistons can’t afford another PR nightmare with this hire, and Hunter, given his inexperience and small track record, would be just that. Dumars must avoid the temptation to hire another friend who’s given him several good years of service on the court. There’s a big difference between being able to play and being able to coach. Hunter hasn’t proven he can reach players, scribble x’s and o’s or lead a team, and that makes him the worst possible choice for the Pistons now.
The one silver lining here? Perhaps this is Dumars is simply trying to help a good friend out and provide him with some meaningful interviewing experience to build on. Anything more than that, though, could finally prove to be Dumars’ eventual undoing in Detroit.
Hiring a second former Piston player short on experience to be a bench boss when much more is needed would be seen his biggest mistake yet, both literally and in the court of public opinion.
Max DeMara is a senior editor at The Detroit Sports Site. You can find him on Twitter @SportsGuyTheMax