The Detroit Pistons were poised to undergo a variety of changes the moment Stan Van Gundy was hired as head coach and president of basketball operations. One of SVG’s first moves was housekeeping in the coaching staff, which will no longer include 39-year-old Rasheed Wallace.
The Detroit News’ Vincent Goodwill tweeted the coaching changes, listing the new members as well as those on their way out:
Pistons formally announce Malone, Beyer and Klask to the coaching staff. Rasheed Wallace, Bernard Smith and Henry Bibby won't be retained— Vincent Goodwill (@vgoodwill) May 30, 2014
The new assistants include Brendan Malone, Bob Beyer and Charles Klask.
Malone spent five seasons as an assistant under Van Gundy during his stint with the Orlando Magic. Beyer, who also worked on the staff in Orlando, coached most recently as an assistant with the Charlotte Bobcats.
Wallace, who won an NBA championship in 2004 as a member of the Pistons, carved a niche as a fan favorite. He only served on Detroit’s staff for the 2013-14 season, but in that time he was able to create a bond and act as a mentor for young, upstart center Andre Drummond.
Sure, there was a fair amount of goofing around—this is Sheed we’re talking about, after all.
Even so, the impact Wallace had on Drummond’s development shined through during the Connecticut product’s sophomore campaign.
Drummond improved statistically nearly across the board compared to his rookie year. ESPN.com indicates that he also led the Association in offensive rebounds by hauling in a ridiculous 440 of them.
The closest player to Drummond in that category was Los Angeles Clippers center DeAndre Jordan, who nabbed 331. That’s a huge discrepancy between first and second place.
Wallace and Drummond formed a bond throughout the season, so it’s a bit strange that Van Gundy would jeopardize the big man’s development with this coaching overhaul.
Drummond touched on Wallace's impact when speaking with Sports on Earth’s Howard Megdal in January:
He’s definitely been a big help for me. He’s taught me a lot. My back-to-the-basket game is getting better. I’ve learned a lot of moves that before, I wasn’t doing. … I did a drop-step spin move into a layup. I haven’t done that, ever. It’s working on things like that, that get me really excited.
The post move Drummond references can be seen at the 22-second mark of the following video:
The 20-year-old improved dramatically during his second year as a pro. The scary thing is he’s still just 20 years old. He has a chance to be really, really good for a very long time.
Removing Wallace from the coaching staff may not sit well with Drummond, but SVG has a history of working with talented big men—namely Dwight Howard and Shaquille O’Neal. Therefore, this isn’t time to panic for Pistons fans.
But what will the future hold for Sheed? His upbeat personality would certainly help teams during the doldrums of an 82-game regular-season grind.
Okay, so maybe seeing Wallace join forces with Phil Jackson isn’t entirely feasible. In all seriousness, though, Goodwill said the following of Wallace’s coaching potential.
I will say talking ball with Rasheed was a basketball education...if he wants to coach, he's smart enough to— Vincent Goodwill (@vgoodwill) May 30, 2014
Wallace may need to latch on with another team for a longer stint as an assistant before he’s viewed as a viable head coaching candidate. Still, an NBA landscape with Sheed as a head coach is a reality we should all hope to experience.