No interim coach has been appointed with Detroit, but assistant John Loyer is expected to be frontrunner
John Loyer was originally hired as an assistant under Lawrence Frank. Then, Loyer, who previously worked for Maurice Cheeks in Portland and Philadelphia, was retained.
Perhaps, Loyer is a really good coach, but he doesn’t have the resume of a strong head-coaching hire. If Loyer weren’t already on staff when the Pistons hired Cheeks, would they have hired him? If Loyer weren’t already on staff now, would they consider making him head coach?
There’s something to be said for continuity within successful organizations, but the Pistons – especially on the coaching level – are not that. If Loyer has shown quality work behind the scenes, name him the interim coach. I’d definitely get behind that. But if they’re choosing him merely because the transition would be smoothest, the Pistons are erring in not bringing in an outside hire.
There are big names available – Lionel Hollins and George Karl – but they’ll likely be costly. I can understand waiting until the offseason and allowing a new general manager, if Joe Dumars is replaced, a strong voice in making the hire rather than locking up an established coach now.
Teams often get a bump under interim coaches, no matter whom, because everyone is energized by a change. Loyer very well could push the Pistons, who are just half a game out of the eighth seed, into the playoffs.
But if Tom Gores really wants to make a playoff push now – and it sure seems he does – he’ll pay for someone like Hollins. He could always eat the contract later if a new general manager wants to change course.
But money is always an object, and if Loyer meets the good-enough threshold, the Pistons can try to limp into the playoffs well below .500. It’s just another way the 2013-14 Eastern Conference can make the Pistons look competent.