Tuesday, July 7, 2009

John Kuester: Curry or Carlisle?

It appears as though the Pistons have found their new coach. According to Marc "Steiny Mo" Stein of ESPN.com, Cavs assistant coach John Kuester will be named as the new Detroit head coach.

Now, many see this move as a bit odd, considering Joe Dumars had previously stated that he wanted an experienced coach after the recent Michael Curry debacle. Basically, I see it as a reaction to Avery Johnson's rather... lavish demands (5 million a year? Uh... no thanks). Kuester was their 3rd choice (behind Doug Collins and Johnson), and they figured he'd be perfectly happy to take the job.

Many Pistons fans see Kuester as Curry 2.0. I don't really think there's a comparison between the two. Kuester has tons of experience as an assistant, unlike Michael Curry's paltry one year of service prior to his hiring, and is a protege of Larry Brown -- who won something or other here... I can't really remember, but I'm sure it's not too important. If there's any comparison to be made, it's that Kuester is similar to former Pistons Coach Rick Carlisle. Carlisle was a highly touted assistant who'd coached for another team that couldn't quite get over the hump while he was there (The Pacers, who lost in the ECF, and Finals under Larry Bird and Carlisle) and would've had to remain an assistant under a (to put it nicely) less qualified coach (The Ineffable Mike Brown for Kuester, and ISAIAH THOMAS for Carlisle). Carlisle was an absolute saving grace for a Pistons team that was... well... kind of shitty before he came here. He posted two straight 50 win seasons and made the Eastern Conference Finals before being ousted (largely because of tensions with the FO) for Larry Brown.

The only thing that bugs me a bit about this choice is that we could have made a run at Tom Thibodeau. Thibodeau is a defensive genius who created top 10 D's for Jeff Van Gundy's Knicks/Rockets and now for Doc River's Celtics. The only knock on him is that he has troubles relating to players (shades of Curry, there). Both Thibo and Kuester have been labeled "the brains behind *insert coach*," but the difference between the two is pretty simple. One has a ring. The other lost in the Conference Finals as a heavy favorite. Still, not too bad to have a guy that shadow-coached a 66 win team. I don't think Pistons fans would be too angry if we made it to another Eastern Conference Finals.

All in all, Kuester is a pretty solid hire. He's not as fun as Bill Laimbier, or as qualified as Avery Johnson, but he should be able to sculpt our offense into one of the best in the NBA and field a solid playoff team. What he does with our Defense should determine how successful he is in Motown.

In AI related news: Iverson has yet to commit to a team; mainly because the only one showing significant interest is the Memphis Grizzlies. Ouch. Looks like it might be a long offseason for The Canswer.

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