Following Joe Dumars’ decision to can Flip Saunders, there were a few big name candidates for the Pistons’ coaching vacancy.
Avery Johnson, Mike Fratello, and Jeff Van Gundy were a few of the possible replacements, along with then Pistons’ assistant, Michael Curry—one of Dumars’ personal friends.
In a questionable move, the Pistons chose Curry and his one year of assistant coaching experience to fill the void.
What was a great start, at 4-0, became a nightmare with a more than disappointing current record of 14-11.
You can put the blame on a number of people: Allen Iverson, who was acquired right after the promising start, Joe Dumars, or Michael Curry.
I’m going to go ahead and blame Curry for the Pistons’ lack of success.
Heading into the season, Curry was the right selection. With the roster that Dumars put together, the front office and media alike believed that a younger, new-school coach could do the team good.
However, when Dumars decided to pull the plug and bring Iverson to Detroit, that was the end of Michael Curry’s ability to control this team.
With the egos in the starting lineup, both Iverson and Rasheed Wallace, it’s going to take a more experienced man to coach and control this team.
The Pistons have had at least one technical foul in the last nine games. Richard Hamilton and Tayshaun Prince have publicly addressed the issue.
"Them dudes, they off the chain," Prince said. "I can't help them. I talk to them as much as I can. I can't do nothing,” Prince stated. “You know what? There's been plenty of times where we've been aggressive going to the rim, couple things don't go our way, then a couple ticky-tack calls and the next thing you know, we start to yell at the refs."
Avery Johnson, my preferred candidate from the beginning, might have not only been able to manage this lineup, but help develop the Pistons’ future as well.
Johnson, best known for his leadership and ability to command his teammates, could have been an ideal mentor for current point guard, Rodney Stuckey.
Nevertheless, Stuckey has been playing great—with four double-doubles so far this season, but I can’t help but wonder how Johnson could have shaped him.
Curry may have been the right choice for the Pistons, but not today.
If he had chosen to pass on this opportunity and continued to better his craft, I have no doubt that he could have began his coaching career with a bang.
Yet, there is no DeLorean to take Joe Dumars back to last summer and alter his decision, thus we’ll have to try and make the best of the situation now.
Maybe this team will change. Maybe the technical fouls will diminish and the egos on this team will disappear.
Until then, I see no possibility of the Pistons returning to the NBA Finals or even the Eastern Conference Finals—a series in which the Pistons have been a part of the last six years.