Nuggets, Timberwolves, could the Detroit Pistons be next?

Chicago Bulls v Detroit Pistons
Chicago Bulls v Detroit Pistons / Gregory Shamus/GettyImages

We have seen a number of different people brought up as possibilities for Tom Gores to consider when filling the newly created President of Basketball Operations role fro the Detroit Pistons.

Jon Horst, General Manager for the Milwaukee Bucks, has been an extremely popular name thrown around. J.J Reddick and Scott Perry are two others reportedly being considered. They would be first added to the current group of decision makers, Tom Gores, Arn Tellem, Troy Weaver and company, and then likely make some changes.

Related Story. 1 Possible trade candidate for Pistons from nearly every team. 1 Possible trade candidate for Pistons from nearly every team. dark

Regardless of what you think about adding another cook to the kitchen, or of the reported candidates themselves, the new POBO should take a look at two of the best teams in the NBA, the man credited for creating both, and do everything possible to recreate his strategies and success.

Tim Connelly’s Success from Denver to Minnesota

Having just watched the first round of the NBA playoffs, it’s abundantly clear that there are a few select teams, in both the East and the West, that are far and away better than the field. Two of those teams are now battling it out in the second round. The Minnesota Timberwolves and Denver Nuggets have shown throughout the year and into the playoffs that they are must-see TV and, whichever team emerges from this playoff series, has a legit chance at winning it all. But what do these teams have in common and why does that matter to Detroit? Both rosters were heavily influenced by Tim Connelly, in the same position Detroit is looking to fill. 

Tim Connelly was named to the exact position that Detroit is looking to fill, but for Denver back in 2017. After having been with the organization since 2013, Connelly had a major hand in assembling the roster that got the Nuggets back into the playoffs in 2019 after a five year hiatus. Tim is credited with pulling the trigger on acquiring Aaron Gordon and JaVale McGee back in 2021, moves that played major roles in Devner winning the Championship in 2023. Denver has been a powerhouse for the last five years and show no signs of slowing down. 

Just before they were able to win it all, however, Connelly accepted the same position with the Minnesota Timberwolves. Minnesota was coming off a 7th place finish in the West, and lost to the Grizzlies in the first round of the playoffs and possibly facing a bleak future of mediocre. Just a few months after accepting the position in Minnesota, however, Tim made waves when he traded five picks and five players for big man Rudy Gobert. It was apparent Connelly was diversifying his front court, similar to how he did in Denver with Jokic and Aaron Gordon. While the move was criticized for quite some time based on what was given up, it’s now clearly paying off as the Timberwolves are in prime position to win it all now. Both teams are firing on all cylinders, and opposing fans should be jealous of both organizations.

How this applies to the Detroit Pistons

So, how does this apply to Detroit? First, it shows that the right hire for the position of President of Basketball Operations can truly transform your team. If given the proper tools and trust, emphasis on the trust as Tom Gores will need to trust his new hire unequivocally and take a more hands-off approach, the right person in this position can right this sinking ship. 

Secondly, the actual formula Tim Connelly continues to follow has proved to be a successful one. Now, it will be next to impossible for Detroit’s new POBO to follow it exactly, as they do not have the draft capital Minnesota had to go get Gobert nor do they have the pieces that the Timberwolves had to build around in superstar Anthony Edwards, Sixth Man of the Year Naz Reid, or budding wing Jaden McDaniels. But in Denver he was able to create something from mostly nothing. 

Detroit’s new President of Basketball Operations has to act in a similar manner, and fast. The Pistons are at a crossroads in which their young stars will need to be paid soon, or moved on from. Let’s hope Detroit gets the hire right, and they see similar success as Tim Connelly.