banner

NBA

more stats

Stretching the Field: Pistons take leap of faith in Van Gundy

By Shawn Clarke, Contributing Editor

(SportsNetwork.com) - Former NFL head coach and Hall of Famer Bill Parcells once said if an organization wants you to cook dinner, it should at least let you shop for some of the groceries.

Stan Van Gundy wants to push his shopping cart through the aisles of the NBA supermarket and will get his chance as head coach and president of basketball operations with the Detroit Pistons.

Van Gundy didn't get a fair shake with the Miami Heat after Pat Riley and some notable players basically forced him out of town in 2005-06 and took over behind the bench, leading Miami to its first of three championships. Van Gundy at least put himself back on the NBA map with the Magic, but then had to deal with Dwight Howard's drama toward the end.

Van Gundy was the best coach Howard ever had and the All-Star center hasn't achieved nearly as much as success since the two were together.

Now Van Gundy has a new project: leading the Pistons back to respectability.

The Pistons have missed the postseason the last five years and have failed to post more than 30 wins in each season during the playoff famine. So how does Van Gundy fit into the equation after being on the outside the last few years?

"Stan is a proven winner in our league," Pistons owner Tom Gores said. "He instills his teams with passion, purpose and toughness. He is a great teacher who will help our players grow and develop. Stan is more than just a great coach, he's a great leader. What I'm most excited about is how Stan can help us shape the franchise and instill what it means to be the best. He's also a great communicator. My time with Stan has me convinced that he will bring our players, team and community to a very proud place."

Van Gundy is organized and a great communicator. He has a no-nonsense approach and finds ways to get the best out of his players. But some of them in the past mailed it in after not buying into what Van Gundy was selling. He will now have to find a way to balance both positions with Detroit and not get stretched too thin. Even the most successful coaches have trouble juggling two superior positions.

Van Gundy is taking over a roster that actually has some potential to succeed in a year or two, especially if the Eastern Conference continues to play second fiddle talent-wise to the West. Big men Greg Monroe, Andre Drummond and Josh Smith, and guards Rodney Stuckey and Brandon Jennings could mesh well together under Van Gundy's fresh philosophy, which he broke down during a lights-out interview in Los Angeles.

It was rumored Drummond, the prized young face of the franchise, wanted head coach Maurice Cheeks out and got his wish. Van Gundy better not tick off Drummond because the near 7-footer is the ticket to his success. Drummond, though, tweeted Wednesday that he is ready for the 2014-15 season to start and added a photo of his new coach.

So we'll see how Detroit's gamble with Van Gundy works out come Christmas.

Van Gundy must learn from his past experiences to make this right and get the Pistons back to basketball decency. The days of the "Bad Boys" and coach Larry Brown have been in the rearview mirror for some time and Van Gundy is ready for a new scene.

"We will work to put a team on the floor that reflects the franchise's rich tradition and embodies the toughness and work ethic of fans in the Detroit area," said Van Gundy, whose .641 winning percentage is the sixth-best among NBA coaches with 500 or more games of experience and becomes the Pistons' sixth head coach since the team reached the 2008 Eastern Conference finals.

The Pistons trust Van Gundy's input, otherwise they wouldn't have coughed up plenty of dough for his services. It's not as if the market was that weak where they couldn't find a coach and/or new team president. Mark Jackson and Steve Kerr were available to draw up Xs and Os. The Pistons could have trolled the college ranks, too.

Van Gundy coached the 2005 and 2010 Eastern Conference All-Star teams, and has a decision to make with John Loyer, who took over for Cheeks on an interim basis and fared no better. Loyer is under contract through next season and could remain as an assistant coach. Van Gundy still has to make some moves in the front office under his new and handsomely paid position. Otis Smith or Stu Jackson have been reportedly in the mix.

The Pistons have the entire summer to adjust under their new toy in Van Gundy and the decisions he will ultimately make. They can only hope the new sheriff in town will restore order of this once-proud franchise and a tired fan base.

05/15 13:42:39 ET

Other Stories

  • ACC: North Carolina at Virginia

    Today at 12:25 pm on WRAL-TV

  • World Series: Kansas City at San Francisco

    Tonight at 7:30 on FOX50

  • NFL: Seattle at Carolina

    Tomorrow at 1:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • NFL: Indianapolis at Pittsburgh

    Tomorrow at 4:25 pm on WRAL-TV

  • Logan Zone with Steve Logan

    Today at 10:00 am on 99.9 The Fan

  • Big Ten: Michigan at Michigan State

    Today at 3:30 pm on 99.9 The Fan

  • World Series: Kansas City at San Francisco

    Tonight at 7:00 on 99.9 The Fan

  • NFL: Carolina Panthers vs. Seattle Seahawks

    Tomorrow at 1:00 pm on 99.9 The Fan

Scoreboard
Local
Final
EDM 6
CAR 3
12:30pm Today
UVA
UNC
2:00pm Today
NCCU
SAVST
 
Final
SFG 2
KAN 3
8:07pm Tonight
SFG
KAN
 
Final
ORL 92
DAL 117
Final
TOR 83
NYK 80
Final
MEM 98
MIA 104
Final
CHI 112
MIN 113
Final
HOU 96
SAN 87
Final
UTA 100
PHO 105
Final
LAL 92
SAC 93
Final
GSW 119
DEN 112
Final
LAC 89
POR 99
Final
CIN 34
SFLA 17
Final
SALABAMA 27
TROY 13
Final
BSU 55
BYU 30
4th
CAL 35
OREG 59
 
12:00pm Today
WISC
MD
12:00pm Today
SMU
MEM
12:00pm Today
ILL
MINN
12:00pm Today
RICE
UNT
12:00pm Today
NEB
RUTG
12:00pm Today
KST
TEX
12:00pm Today
ARK
UAB
12:30pm Today
UVA
UNC
1:00pm Today
EMICH
NILL
1:00pm Today
NAVY
SJST
2:00pm Today
BST
AKR
2:00pm Today
GASTATE
GASO
2:00pm Today
TOL
UMASS
2:00pm Today
WMICH
OHIO
2:00pm Today
COL
UCLA
2:30pm Today
UMO
KSU
3:30pm Today
WAKE
BC
3:30pm Today
BUF
CMICH
3:30pm Today
MARS
FATL
3:30pm Today
PITT
GT
3:30pm Today
SMISS
LATU
3:30pm Today
MSU
MICH
3:30pm Today
KENT
MSST
3:30pm Today
STAN
ORST
3:30pm Today
TCU
TTU
3:30pm Today
OKST
WVU
4:00pm Today
WKENT
ODU
4:00pm Today
UTST
UNLV
4:00pm Today
MIZZ
VANDY
5:00pm Tonight
UCF
TEMPL
6:00pm Tonight
WASU
ARZ
7:00pm Tonight
CLEM
SYR
7:00pm Tonight
LAMON
TXST
7:00pm Tonight
TXSANANTO
UTEP
7:00pm Tonight
COLST
WYO
7:15pm Tonight
LSU
MISS
7:30pm Tonight
TENN
ALA
7:30pm Tonight
AUB
SCAR
8:00pm Tonight
PSU
OSU
10:00pm Tonight
UTAH
USC
10:45pm Tonight
WASH
ARST
11:59pm Tonight
HAW
NEV
Final
NJD 2
DAL 3
Final
WIN 2
TAM 4
Final
COL 7
VAN 3
Final
EDM 6
CAR 3
Final
ANA 4
CLB 1
4:00pm Today
SJS
BUF
 
7:00pm Tonight
TOR
BOS
 
7:00pm Tonight
NYI
DAL
 
7:00pm Tonight
PHI
DET
 
7:00pm Tonight
OTT
NJD
 
7:00pm Tonight
MON
NYR
 
8:00pm Tonight
STL
CHI
 
8:00pm Tonight
NAS
PIT
 
8:00pm Tonight
MIN
TAM
 
9:00pm Tonight
ARI
FLA
 
10:00pm Tonight
CAL
WAS
 
2:00pm Today
NCCU
SAVST