The Detroit Pistons recently fired coach Lawrence Frank and are now setting out to find his replacement.
Let's be honest, there are not a ton of great options out there. Most of the good coaches have jobs or are retired. The remaining available names are either flawed or untested.
The Pistons need to get this coaching choice right. Their past few selections have been disastrous.
They went the untested route with Michael Curry and John Kuester.
They went the retread route with Lawrence Frank.
Now it's time for the Pistons to choose the right coach.
And given the team's current dynamic, Nate McMillan is the right choice to rebuild the Pistons.
Flawed, but a good start
Don't get me wrong, I am not an unabashed McMillan lover. I had the opportunity to watch McMillan here in Portland over the past few years, and it is easy to get frustrated with him.
He is slow to recognize game patterns that require his attention, he routinely misses opportunities to call crucial timeouts and he doesn't exploit mismatches.
That being said, there are plenty of things he does well. He is very good at developing young talent, and he is focused primarily on defense. He coaches much like he played. He focuses on ball control and defense. And while he was a pass-first point guard, he has had primarily scoring lead guards.
He has helped develop young, talented big men, and he has seen his teams improve from the time he started coaching them until the time he walked away.
McMillan is a starter coach. He is the coach you bring in to develop your young talent until they are ready to compete for a prolonged playoff run.
Best available choice, for now
There are still a few solid coaches out there, but none that fit with Detroit and their level of talent right now.
Stan Van Gundy is a good coach, but he likely will be holding out for a better job and he likely will get it.
Lindsey Hunter was a tremendous leader as a player but is too much of a gamble as a coach at this point in his young career.
Scott Skiles is too intense to work well with this group, and Kelvin Sampson could be a good pick but has never had a professional head coaching job.
The rest of the available coaches are probably either not interested in the job (Phil Jackson) or likely retired for good (Jerry Sloan).
Now, it might seem like a bad move to hire someone that likely will have to be replaced in a number of years, but McMillan actually fits the Pistons very well. The Pistons have a shoot-first point guard in Brandon Knight that could use a mentor. They also have a couple of dynamic big men that could be modeled after McMillan's former protege LaMarcus Aldridge. .
Most importantly, this is a team that needs to be focused on ball control and defense. These are the hallmarks of a McMillan team, and something that is sorely needed in Detroit.
The Pistons need to get this pick right, and there are plenty of choices that can be made. But it appears that McMillan is the best fit for where the Pistons are at as a team. He isn't a sexy pick, but he is the right one.
The Pistons certainly could choose to go with another less experienced coach, and by all accounts, it could be a winner. But it is just too much of a gamble to take a chance on yet another inexperienced coach that needs to learn on the job.
This team needs an experienced coach that knows how to develop young talent, and McMillan is the best option the Pistons have.
I'm not saying he is going to lead them to a championship. But he could be the coach that puts them on the precipice of reaching that level.
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