Pistons news: Possible frontrunner for president of basketball operations

Jun 6, 2023; Milwaukee, WI, USA;  Milwaukee Bucks general manager Jon Horst
Jun 6, 2023; Milwaukee, WI, USA; Milwaukee Bucks general manager Jon Horst / Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

The Detroit Pistons have gone silent since announcing they would hire a president to oversee basketball operations. 

With an outside firm identifying candidates, the Pistons are taking their sweet time, as this is a decision they have to get right even though they have precious little time to waste, as the person will have to immediately dive into the draft and free agency. 

For that reason, it may be in their best interest to bring in someone who is familiar with the team and can hit the ground running. One of the top candidates according to reports is Jon Horst, current GM of the Milwaukee Bucks, who started his career as an intern with the Detroit Pistons, worked his way up to Manager of Basketball operations and comes from Michigan. 

Related Story. 5 Stars the Pistons missed by a single pick in the NBA Draft. 5 Stars the Pistons missed by a single pick in the NBA Draft. dark

Horst, who won Executive of the Year in 2019, has a title on his resume, but also has some questionable decisions, including recent ones that might give the Pistons pause. 

Detroit Pistons president of basketball operations: Jon Horst’s draft picks and free agent signings 

Jon Horst took over a team in 2017 that already had Giannis Antetokounmpo, so Horst put the finishing touches on a team that would eventually win the title in 2021. The Bucks have won 65 percent of their games under Horst and have never won fewer than 44 games. 

Some would say it’s easy to build a title team around one of the best players in the league, but it also presents some unique challenges, mostly being under pressure to put a championship contender on the floor at all costs, as Antetokounmpo had to be consistently appeased. 

This has led to some questionable decisions, especially of late, as the Bucks, desperate to stay in the mix, traded for Damian Lillard, fired Mike Budenholzer, hired and fired Adrian Griffin and then brought in Doc Rivers, who has had a losing record. 

They are on the verge of losing in the first round of the playoffs and have big-time salary commitments for next season that are going to make it tough for them to improve. This isn’t all on Horst, who was under pressure to make changes to make his superstar happy, but those moves have mostly backfired in the last two seasons. 

Horst has never had a high draft pick of GM of the Bucks but did find some nice players later in the first round in Donte DiVincenzo and Marjon Beauchamp. 

He made a great trade for Jrue Holiday that helped bring home the title and also traded for Grayson Allen. 

Brook Lopez was probably his best free agent signing, as he had the foresight to see how Lopez’s changing game would fit with Giannis. He also signed Khris Middleton to a big long-term deal. 

So, Horst has championship experience, but the most important part of that team was already there when he took over. 

The Detroit Pistons couldn’t be further from that, as they were the worst team in the league, so this would be a much different task for Horst, who would have to build a franchise from the ground up instead of putting the finishing touches on a title team. 

He does have familiarity with the Pistons that could make him the frontrunner, and at 41 years old, he is still a young executive who can grow with the team, so don’t be surprised if Horst is ultimately the name that emerges from the search.