Brock’s Random Thoughts: The Stan Van Gundy hire
When I heard about the hiring of Stan Van Gundy as Head Coach and President of Basketball Operations of the Detroit Pistons, my first thought was: They hit a double.
What I mean by that is, that they didn't make the worst hire in the world. That would have guys like his brother Jeff, the former Knicks and Rockets coach. Jeff Van Gundy thinks 65-61 games in the NBA are interesting. The Pistons don't need that, they need to draw fans in, not push even more of them away. But they also didn't make the best hire they could have made.
I believe that choice was Mark Jackson, the now-former coach of the Golden State Warriors. He would've energized the fan base, and I think they players would grow to love him just like the players, for the most part, did at Golden State.
Stan Van Gundy has good credentials. He coached an undermanned Orlando Magic team to the NBA Finals in 2009. They lost in the Finals to the Los Angeles Lakers in five competitive games. And he got the Miami Heat to the Eastern Conference Finals in 2005, where they lost to, ironically enough, the Detroit Pistons in seven brutal games. He's been an assistant under Pat Riley with the Miami Heat, and even coached a season at Wisconsin when Michael Finley was there.
He does have the hammer of full control of operations with this team, something he's never had before. And a five-year contract worth $35 million. So if the players stop listening to him, he can get them out of there when he wants to. But like any other coach, wins and losses will determine his fate long-term.
He's in a unique position where it is a rebuild situation, but it's also a win-now deal considering how weak the bottom of the Eastern Conference is. I like the hire, but I don't love it. Let's hope owner Tom Gores picked the right Van Gundy to run this proud, and yes, historic franchise.