The Pistons’ new president/coach has begun to assemble his staff — both in the front office and the bench — and a clear pattern has emerged.
Brendan Malone and Charles Klask are both returning to Detroit,according to the Freep’s Vince Ellis. Both also worked with Van Gundy in Orlando. Another former Van Gundy assistant with the Magic, Bob Beyer, is expected to join the Pistons, too, according to Ellis.
Stu Jackson, Otis Smith and Scott Layden are the top contenders to become general manager, according to Chris Haynes of CSN Northwest. Jackson, who interviewed Wednesday, was the head coach at Wisconsin when Van Gundy was an assistant. Smith was Van Gundy’s general manager in Orlando. And Layden was the New York Knicks’ general manager when Stan’s brother, Jeff, coached New York.
Dave Twardzik, another member of the Magic front office while Van Gundy was in Orlando, is expected to join the Pistons, according to Gery Woelfel of the Racine Journal Times.
Those are a whole lot of people Van Gundy knows he can trust, and there’s nothing inherently wrong with that. Van Gundy knows these people well, and he believes in them.
But he has the cachet to hire bright basketball minds with whom he has no experience. He has too much power for them to undermine him.
Van Gundy’s standing in the organization gives him leeway to think creatively, and his employees will have to get in line behind him. There’s little room to manipulate the system.
To be clear, I have no issue with Van Gundy’s additions so far. I actually like most of them.
But I’m concerned that the process that led to these hirings could lead to poor outcomes in the future. Basketball is a big world, and the most qualified person for a job might not necessarily have worked with Van Gundy previously.
Van Gundy can and should expand his horizons. Nobody he hires can get him fired this time.