The Detroit Pistons are “moving on” from head coach and president of basketball operations Stan Van Gundy, according to a report from Detroit Free Press beat reporter Vincent Ellis. Van Gundy failed to win a playoff game in Detroit after posting a 152-176 record in his four seasons with the franchise.
It’s a disappointing end to a pairing the Pistons hoped would lead to a revival in Motown. Van Gundy had previously coached the Miami Heat and Orlando Magic deep into the Eastern Conference playoffs, but couldn’t attain a similar level of success with his latest reclamation project. Even a stunning mid-season trade for All-Star Blake Griffin couldn’t dig Detroit out of its malaise, as a 39-43 record ensured the club would miss the playoffs while hovering on the fringe of the NBA Draft Lottery.
The Van Gundy era in Michigan will be defined by its mediocrity. The veteran coach’s teams never won more than 44 games but lost more than 37 just once, in his first season with Detroit. While Andre Drummond established himself as a bonafide star, Van Gundy’s efforts to develop and surround him with talent left the club scrambling when it came time for a final playoff push. While pieces like Griffin, Tobias Harris, Avery Bradley, and Reggie Jackson all looked like solid additions at face value, they were unable to push the club to even a single postseason victory.
The delay in firing Van Gundy could wind up being a costly one. Three teams have already hired new head coaches this postseason. The Memphis Grizzlies retained interim coach J.B. Bickerstaff, while the New York Knicks hired David Fizdale and the Phoenix Suns signed Igor Kokoskov to take the reins at their respective sidelines. With the Hawks, Hornets, Bucks, and Magic all looking for new leaders, the Pistons may have to settle for a coach who may not be the franchise’s top choice.
One early candidate to fill Van Gundy’s shoes as an executive could be NBA veteran Brent Barry.
Sources: One candidate expected to be strongly considered for a role in a revamped Pistons front office -- Brent Barry.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) May 7, 2018