Modeled after ESPN’s 5-on-5, three of us will answer three questions about a Pistons-related topic. Please add your responses in the comments.
1. If you were to replace Joe Dumars as the Pistons’ general manager, what would be your No. 1 priority with the coaching staff?
Dan Feldman: Convince Tom Gores to increase the coaching budget. It’s not impossible to find good coaches for the money Detroit spent on its most-recent hires, but it’s more difficult when the pool of candidates is limited. Cheaper coaches are much more likely to pan out when they beat out an established coach, not just a field of other cheap options.
Brady Fredericksen: Letting go of John Loyer. It’s pretty simple, the team got worse under Loyer’s watch and I don’t think he was ever really a legit option to return as head coach next season. He was a cheap alternative after the firing of Maurice Cheeks, plain and simple. The team’s 4-12 under Loyer, and the team’s defense has completely gone off the tracks by allowing 106 points per game.
Tim Thielke: Make sure the prospects are getting as much playing time as they can handle. Put Tony Mitchell, Luigi Datome and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope out there for heavy minutes and see what happens. Hopefully the Pistons fall through the standings while also seeing some flashes of promise.
2. If you were to replace Joe Dumars as the Pistons’ general manager, what would be your No. 2 priority with the coaching staff?
Dan Feldman: Pursue George Karl, Lionel Hollins, Stan Van Gundy and Jeff Van Gundy and identify an ideal candidate from that pool. He becomes my baseline. If I can’t find anyone better, I’ll happily hire him. But I’ll still look deeper first.
Brady Fredericksen: Calling up Hollins. The former Grizzlies coach has already made it known publicly that he’d be interested in the job, which is always the first step. If you glance around the NBA over the past five years, I think his Memphis teams fit the exact mold that many Pistons fans remember from the last great teams in Detroit. Defense, rebounding, some grit, it really would fit the culture of Detroit as a whole.
Tim Thielke: In the offseason, find a new head coach. His priorities, whether through personal strengths or the staff he puts around himself, should be maximizing defensive talents and creativity with meshing an unorthodox roster.
3. If you were to replace Joe Dumars as the Pistons’ general manager, what would be your No. 3 priority with the coaching staff?
Dan Feldman: Scour the assistant and college ranks for up-and-coming coaches. If I find a gem — someone who impresses me more than my baseline choice (Karl, Hollins or a Van Gundy) — I’ll hire him. Otherwise, I’ll hire the baseline choice. I just don’t want to end up with someone like John Kuester only because he was more impressive than someone like Michael Curry. There must be proven talent in the mix.
Brady Fredericksen: Making sure that he’s at least semi-involved in the roster-building process. As a GM, you probably never want to give a coach too much say in building the team, but he is the guy who is going to be coaching them. One of the most important aspect of the next regime is being in sync. That means from Gores to new GM to new coach — all three on the same page — because if the top is in sync, the players will buy in, too.
Tim Thielke: Have the coach start immediately yanking players (especially Josh Smith) after taking bad shots. Don’t keep him out there because of his talent. Start teaching him that any time he attempts a shot he shouldn’t, he’ll be sitting for the next five minutes — whether it goes in or not.