Bill Laimbeer would make a very interesting NBA coach, although it’s hard to determine how successful he would be if given a chance.
We’ll never know because Laimbeer is unlikely to get the chance as he seems destined to be a regular with the WNBA. General managers, including former teammate Joe Dumars of the Detroit Pistons, probably don’t want to take a chance with the outspoken Laimbeer, who would love to coach in Detroit where he is still adored.
Dumars is not looking for a coach that would be more popular than he is. That’s what would potentially happen with Laimbeer.
Laimbeer coached the Detroit Shock to a pair of WNBA titles, so he does have a successful track record. But obviously, coaching women’s basketball players compared to men is totally different. It’s not an easy transition.
Laimbeer was considered twice for Pistons coaching vacancies but didn’t get the job. He went to the Minnesota Timberwolves to be an assistant, which some observers felt could put him in a good position to go to the NBA. Laimbeer obviously knows the game very well and seem to have developed a decent rapport with players.
He’s now general manager and coach with the New York Liberty in the WNBA. Being GM gives coaches a lot of flexibility in getting his own players. With the Pistons, he probably would have little to say about player transactions. Laimbeer, one who speaks his mind freely, would likely clash with Dumars.
That’s too bad, because Laimbeer at least deserves a shot as an NBA head coach. He likely won’t get it with the Pistons.