The Detroit Pistons have parted ways with head coach Lawrence Frank, per a statement from the team this morning. This comes after Frank spent two seasons at the helm of the Pistons, compiling a record of 54-94 in the process.
The question is, who would be the best replacements as the next Pistons head coach?
As one might expect, the rumor mill is running rampant already with names that could fill the void in Detroit. From legendary figures to up-and-coming assistant coaches, there is no shortage of names being thrown around for the vacancy.
Names I've heard: McMillan, Sampson, Sloan, Heat assistant David Fizdale. Not sure about the Van Gundy's #Pistons— Vincent Goodwill (@vgoodwill) April 18, 2013
For clarification, that's Nate McMillan, Jerry Sloan, Kelvin Sampson and David Fitzdale—four of the countless names who will earn some run in the rumor mill.
When it comes to who actually fits the Pistons, there are certain names that make more sense than others. This is not to downplay what the names currently being mentioned are capable of, but instead to acknowledge the most important question of all.
Who fits the personnel and direction of the organization?
Mike Budenholzer currently serves as an assistant coach for the San Antonio Spurs. Budenholzer has held that position since 1996 and, in the process, has won four NBA championships with future Hall of Famer Gregg Popovich.
While no team has been able to pry him free thus far, there's no harm in Detroit making a run at such a decorated leader.
Budenholzer has a long history of working with elite big men, specifically two at the same time. Keep in mind, Budenholzer was an intricate member of the Spurs teams that were led by both Tim Duncan and David Robinson.
Could he work similar magic with Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond? It's worth finding out.
Just don't hold your breath on him leaving San Antonio.
The Detroit Pistons are one of the most decorated franchises in league history, owning three NBA championships and seven conference titles. They won back-to-back championships in 1989 and 1990 under Chuck Daly and a third in 2004 under Larry Brown.
What did Daly's Bad Boy Pistons share with Brown's nameless crew? It was all about defense.
Enter Nate McMillan.
Outside of being a two-time All-Defensive Team selection as a player, McMillan has adopted the mentality, "Defense wins championships." This is the mentality which helped McMillan turn around the Seattle Super Sonics and Portland Trail Blazers—previously known as the "Jail Blazers."
For what it's worth, McMillan was fired twice—once after taking Seattle to their first conference semifinals appearance in seven years and another time after taking the injury-plagued Blazers to the playoffs.
You want McMillan as your coach, especially if you have Andre Drummond as your defensive anchor.
Brian Shaw is currently an assistant coach for the Indiana Pacers and has been there since their leap to the defensive elite began in 2011. Prior to his time in Indiana, Shaw was a three-time NBA champion as a guard and a two-time title winner as an assistant coach for the Los Angeles Lakers.
In other words, Shaw knows how to win.
Shaw both played for and coached under the legendary Phil Jackson. Once Jackson stepped down as the Lakers head coach, Shaw followed and made the move to Indiana.
So why not give him a chance to prove his head coaching chops? The world still doesn't know.
Shaw is very familiar with how to maximize the abilities of elite big men, as he either played with or coached the likes of Shaquille O'Neal, Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum. That fits perfectly into Detroit's plans, as they're led by big men Andre Drummond and Greg Monroe.
Land a guard in this year's draft and you're giving Shaw the opportunity to show what he knows—trust me, you'll be impressed.
Jerry Sloan owns 1,221 regular-season wins, 98 postseason victories, six conference finals appearances and two NBA Finals berths. In case the resume doesn't do it for you, let me put this into words anyone can understand: Sloan is a legend.
The key to Sloan's success has always been his ability to maximize the efficiency of the pick-and-roll. This play made John Stockton and Karl Malone Hall of Famers and Deron Williams and Carlos Boozer All-Stars.
Assuming the Pistons draft a point guard in 2013, they'll give Sloan the opportunity to work his magic once again with Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond.
The Pistons' potentially elite frontcourt has the perfect balance of offensive proficiency (Monroe) and defensive dominance (Drummond). Unfortunately, both men are young, inexperienced and without a coach to give them direction.
You can't name five coaches better than Sloan to push these two men into the top tier.