Detroit Pistons Coach Dreams: Mike Budenholzer


Age: 40

Current Job: Assistant Coach, San Antonio Spurs (1996-present)

Previous experience:

  • Video Coordinator, San Antonio Spurs (1994-96)
  • Head Coach, two teams in Vejle Basketball Klub system of Denmark (1993-94)


Budenholzer isn’t your typical "career assistant" type of interview. His entire American coaching career, which began as the team’s video coordinator, has been in San Antonio, working alongside Gregg Popovich, one of the game’s best coaches, in one of the game’s best organizations. If a candidate like Budenholzer could instill some of that Spurs culture in Detroit, he’d be well worth consideration.

He also was a candidate for the opening in Golden State. He’s coached the Spurs’ Summer League teams, done advanced scouting for Team USA, and he’s one of the most well-regarded assistants in the league.


As with any first-time head coach, Budenholzer would be a tough sell to many fans who are excited for a big name. John Kuester was a well-thought-of assistant but turned out to be ill-suited for the head job, and there’s always a danger an untested hire could have the same problems adjusting.


If the Pistons decide on someone with no head-coaching experience who is not Bill Laimbeer, I think at the very least, Budenholzer’s ties to the Spurs organization would be a selling point to fans hungry for the Pistons to return to the tough, defense-first style that defined the franchise at its highest points.