Detroit Pistons Coach Dreams: Patrick Ewing



Age: 48

Current Job: Assistant Coach, Orlando Magic  (2007-present)

Previous experience:

  • Assistant Coach, Houston Rockets  (2004-06)
  • Assistant Coach, Washington Wizards  (2003-04)


Patrick Ewing insists he’s more than a big man’s coach, and that’s probably true. Obviously, the Pistons should hire someone who’s capable of working with players at every position. Having a specialty is OK, but having a strict limitation is not.

Causality is difficult to assess, but Dwight Howard and Yao Ming both improved significantly under Ewing. In both cases, the player went from a raw, but talented, big man who didn’t regularly assert themselves in the offense to the focal point of the offense. Not only did their roles increase, they looked more polished and displayed a wider variety of post moves.

Ewing would probably be great for Greg Monroe, whose interior game could use a little polish. During the summer league last year, the only time the Pistons ran plays for him, Monroe showed a mixed bag in the post. Plus, Monroe would love to play for another former Georgetown player.

Wait. I’m supposed to talk about more than just big men. Um, well, hmmm… I don’t really know what to say. Let’s move on.


Monroe is the only true big on the roster. Charlie Villanueva, Jonas Jerebko, Jason Maxiell (and Vernon Macklin, if he makes the team) have the size to learn more of a post game, too. But if the Pistons believe Ewing’s specialty is coaching bigs, he might not have the largest effect on this team.

Plus, when Ewing coached Howard and Yao, they were at an age most players improve. How much did Ewing help them, and how much was he just along for the ride?

As far as other positions, like I wrote above, Ewing doesn’t really have an established track record.

Ewing never struck me as a particularly smart player (not that he struck as a stupid player, by any means). He just never stood above the fray.

Did Ewing get an interview only because Tom Gores advisor and former Knicks president Dave Checketts pushed for one, or because Joe Dumars believes Ewing might be the best coach available? If it’s the former and not the latter, the Pistons have no business hiring Ewing.


Ewing seems to think teams have an agenda against him. That may or may not be the case. Maybe he’s just not that good of a coach.

He’s clearly worked hard to position himself to at least draw consideration for head-coaching openings, serving seven years as an assistant. I have no problem with the Pistons interviewing him. In fact, it can only help to cover your bases and make another friend. I imagine Ewing is grateful for the opportunity to interview.

I doubt the Pistons will hire him, but if they do, that would signal he’s a better candidate than he appears to me. At that point, he would’ve beaten some very legitimate candidates for the job.

Still, I can’t see Ewing becoming Detroit’s head coach. If the Pistons hire an Xs -and-Os coach like Lawrence Frank, Ewing might make sense as an assistant. If they hire someone like Bill Laimbeer, Ewing wouldn’t complement him as an assistant.