What was supposed to be a resurgent season for the Detroit Pistons turned into a disaster, as their big free agent signings flopped and the playoffs were missed. That led to not just the firing of two coaches, but the end of Joe Dumars' tenure as the GM. The hope was that the new hirings would be able to turn Detroit around. Well, the Pistons decided to just kill two birds with one stone, and hire one man for the job. Stan Van Gundy is now the coach and President of Basketball Operations for the Detroit Pistons.
I am really excited about this. I love this hiring. It's a beautiful world again. Granted, we do not know what kind of front office executive Van Gundy will be. This is a bit of a question mark, but it is one worth finding out. SVG will also have to hire some sort of GM to handle the day-to-day stuff and the money stuff, but he will get his own guy, and Van Gundy is a man who pays attention to analytics so there is no reason to worry there. The Pistons won't fall behind with SVG running things.
What we do know is that Stan Van Gundy is a great head coach. He's had a ton of success at both Miami and Orlando. He was atop most of the coaching wishlists this offseason, and the Pistons, far from a great job, got him. To do so, they had to give him control of personnel, and also a nice, big contract. The deal is reportedly for five years and $35 million. So, as long as SVG works out, he'll be around for five years. That's five years of great head coaching. Five years of a guy who can mold Andre Drummond into Dwight Howard, a man SVG coached in the past. Of course, it is the relationship between Van Gundy and Howard that got the former fired, but Drummond doesn't seem to have the same kind of personality.
There is no salary cap for coaches and front offices, and Tom Gores is a rich dude, so this is the kind of thing the Pistons should, and need, to do. You splash the cash if it gets you the best guys, and Stan Van Gundy counts. Sure, there is not a long track record of success with guys who have both jobs, but few guys even get that chance. SVG knows one of them well, as he lost his first head coaching job, in Miami, because Pat Riley wanted another ring as a coach, basically. That's the thing about SVG; he's never been fired for a lack of coaching acumen or success.
Stan Van Gundy is now the man in control of the Pistons through and through. He's the best coach this team has had since Larry Brown, and he's not going to fly the coop like Brown did. To get Van Gundy, the Pistons had to hand him the keys to the car. Now we just have to hope he knows how to drive. I'm very interested in finding out, and I can't think of a hiring the Pistons could have reasonably made that would have made me happier. Mustaches and Diet Cokes for all! Now begins the Stan Van Gundy Era.