Rebuttal: Bill Laimbeer will make an excellent head coach

When I wrote yesterday’s post pointing out why I think it’s flawed reasoning to assume Bill Laimbeer will make a great NBA head coach, I knew it would be a controversial opinion, probably one that puts me in the minority among Pistons fans. So, in fairness, here are a couple of ‘other side’ perspectives.

First, an Outside the Lines piece where former nemesis Charles Barkley says it’s a shame Laimbeer is not a head coach.

Second, there’s definitely a counter-argument to be made, and lo and behold, one showed up in the comments section from a very reputable source, Keri Laimbeer. Here’s her well-thought-out and argued comment:

Althought i respect your opinion and the fact that this IS an opinion piece – I’d have to say its flawed in many areas. Its disturbing to know that someone can write a piece although it is just YOUR piece  (clearly not a PUBLISHED piece)that has so many fictions, portraying as fact.

It is true that my dad is not everyone’s favorite person. That comes with the territory that he stepped in when he decided that his role on the Pistons would be that it was. Love him or hate him, he accepted his role and he performed to a T.

Your opinion is based on his coaching ability, so I will try to focus my attention on that part of your piece. Your opinion about his “X & O” are clearly based on someone who did not spend time watching him coach or really understand what his team accomplished. He is a BRILLIANT X & O coach. Ask anyone with a basketball background, or someone who has coached him, played with him, or was coached BY him. Being his daughter, I spend MANY nights up with him in highschool reviewing tapes of upcoming teams and games that were just played. He could see what was going to happen before it happened and it was EVIDENT in the record of his team when he coached. There were many times when he would come up with a play on the fly in a 30 second time out (see the 1st championship Deana Nolan’s shot in the corner last minute of the game). Your opinion is yours so it is respected, but it is wrong.

Regarding his players:

Katie Smith – what you fail to mention is that he negotiated the trade of Katie to the Shock from Minnesota where she played he whole career for basically NOTHING. His ability to GM a team in the league was 2nd to none. You also failed to mention the 15 lbs he demanded she lose so that she could fit the role of point guard for the Shock instead of shooting guard as she played her whole life. (her performance speaks for itself).

Swin Cash – yes, she is a FANTASTIC player. She deserves all the credit in the world. However, you were not privy to the behind the scenes involving her time with the Shock (and i will not make that information public) so you do not understand the dynamics of his coaching of her.

Cheryl Ford – a strong physical player who THRIVED in the Shock’s system. a GREAT PLAYER who had a great system to play in.

His players were brought into Detroit BY HIM. He knew what would work and he made it happen. Hes OFTEN accredited with changing the way the league was played and the way it was coached/GMed because the league had to keep up with his examples.

The 2007 finals were a complete disaster. As the head of the team, he took blame for its collapse – never disclosing the real reasons that the season ended the way it did. (in the WNBA Finals going for a back-to-back) I suppose if its not a championship, its a failure.

I wont even comment on your OPINION of the Swin situation. I am in NO position to comment on it nor would I ever. But my only advice would be to not believe everything you read and to understand that the league is a business –  with ALL parties attempting to have their “brand” shown in the best light possible. No winners or losers in that situation. The NBA/WNBA is a players league. No coach is or should be the face of the franchise. They do not sell tickets and they do not win games..its a PLAYERS game. To blame the demise of the Shock on him is pure foolishness. The Shock hold the WNBA attendance record for their finals appearances. He was open and approachable to ALL the WNBA fans. He understood his role in the league and he at times became the leagues ‘dog and pony’ show as they flaunted him around to various appearances and events which he was OPEN to doing. PLEASE do not undermind the work he put into helping the league survive. The WNBA is a money pit. No team makes a profit. It is the sole decision of the owner to decide the fate of a franchise and with all the “changes” and talk about the Pistons and their future… I believe the blame for the team moving belongs on another woman’s shoulders. IMO.

Your opinion is your opinion. Do I believe that he will make a great head coach? ABSOLUTELY. is it because I am his daughter? NO. it is because I know, just like his players, his former coaches and former teammates know what he has the capability to do. he will eventually get his shot and I hope then you are singing another tune.

With respect,
Keri Laimbeer

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