NBA Detroit Pistons

Detroit Pistons’ Top 10 Head Coaching Candidates

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Detroit Pistons' Top 10 Head Coaching Candidates

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It has been a tough season for the Detroit Pistons thus far. Winning just 21 of their first 50 games on the 2013-14 season, Joe Dumars, Tom Gores and the Pistons' front office decided it was the best idea to let go of head coach Maurice Cheeks who was hired in the offseason.

Much speculation as to why Cheeks was fired after just 50 games as the head coach has surfaced, but the simple fact is that he didn't produce nor did he get the best out of his very talented roster. It has been a few years since the Pistons made the playoffs and Cheeks was hired to help Detroit get over that hump and get back to being one of the Eastern Conference's elite teams once again.

Many have speculated that Cheeks' players didn't respect him and that many spoke out against him to owner, Tom Gores. Young star center Andre Drummond is one of those players who had reportedly spoke to Gores during this process and letting Cheeks go was an owner's decision based on the bright young star's complaints.

Drummond doesn't seem like the only player who was unhappy with the coaching situation as point guard Will Bynum was benched during last week's game against the Orlando Magic and got into a heated exchange with Cheeks on the sideline during a timeout after being taken out of the game. Bynum later said he didn't regret what had happened.

Detroit has top-tier talent and it's time it starts realizing that. Let's take a look at who Gores and Dumars have been rumored to have interest in -- some of this is just pure speculation based on head coaching candidates available.

Let me know who you think the Pistons should target.

Connor Muldowney is a columnist for Follow him on Twitter @Connormuldowney, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google. You can also reach him at

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Nate McMillan

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McMillan has been rumored to be near the top of the list of candidates. He has a career 478-452 record with the Seattle SuperSonics and Portland Trail Blazers. However, he may be the same type of coach as Cheeks as he has never won more than 54 games in a season and has missed the playoffs six times in his 11-year coaching career.

Current job: Indiana Pacers assistant coach

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Bill Laimbeer

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Bill Laimbeer played with Dumars in the Bad Boys days of the Pistons. The former Piston is currently affiliated with the WNBA and could make the switch over as he has won three WNBA titles as a coach and two NBA titles as a player. This is a long-shot, but it is very possible. The guy knows how to win and he has shown a desire to be a head coach in the NBA.

Current job: New York Liberty general manager and head coach

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George Karl

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It's amazing to me that George Karl is still unemployed. The 2013 NBA Coach of the Year was let go by the Denver Nuggets after a 57-25 regular season record and a loss in the first round of the playoffs. He has missed the playoffs just twice in 25 seasons as a head coach, posting a 1,131-756 record. The only knock against him is that he's never won a title and he's lost in the first round of the playoffs 14 times in 23 playoff appearances.

Current job: ESPN analyst, unemployed NBA coach

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Kelvin Sampson

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Sampson is somewhat of a wild card and it's unclear if the Pistons would even take a chance on him as a head coach, either. It seems like the Pistons are looking for someone who has had previous NBA head coaching experience and Sampson has strictly college basketball head coaching experience -- 25 years at that. He finished his college head coaching career on a sour note with recruiting violations that led to his resignation from the Indiana Hoosiers' program. He finished with a career 496-271 record at four different schools.

Current job: Houston Rockets assistant coach

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John Loyer

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John Loyer is taking over as the team's interim coach until a new head coach is named. He has had nothing but assistant coaching experience, but the players seem to like him. Chauncey Billups, a veteran who has experienced success in the past with Detroit, even stated, "Everyone loves him," when talking about what the team thought about Loyer. It has been reported that he will finish out the remaining 32 games as the team's head coach, but we can look at this as somewhat of a tryout. It will be interesting to see what the front office decides to do if he has success and gains players' respect.

Current job: Detroit Pistons interim head coach

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Avery Johnson

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Avery Johnson would be a great addition for the Pistons and was even rumored to be one of the finalists during the head coaching search a couple years ago when John Kuester was hired. Johnson is a players' coach and he got a pretty raw deal with the New Jersey/Brooklyn Nets as there were no solid pieces on the team other than Deron Williams at the very end of his tenure. He was 60-116 with the poor roster of the Nets, but had a 194-70 record and an NBA Finals appearance in the four seasons with the Dallas Mavericks. This would be a great fit for the talented roster of the Pistons.

Current job: ESPN analyst, unemployed NBA coach

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Jeff Van Gundy

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Jeff Van Gundy hasn't coached an NBA game since 2007 with the Houston Rockets, but he has hinted at the fact that he wants to get back to the sidelines. He knows how to lead teams to the playoffs, but winning a title is a different story, going 0-1 in NBA Finals appearances and 1-4 in conference finals appearances. The talent on the Pistons' roster could be enough for Van Gundy to work with, however. He finished his coaching career with the Rockets after the New York Knicks, posting a career 430-318 record and 44-44 record in the playoffs.

Current job: ESPN basketball broadcaster, unemployed NBA coach

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Rasheed Wallace

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Wallace is also somewhat of a long-shot, but many fans would love to see the former world champion with the Pistons take control of the team. He would, no doubt, instill toughness and defense with the team and there's no way that the players on the team would disrespect him. Wallace has a dominant personality and that could be what this team needs. He retired from his playing days just last year and has taken up a role on the Pistons' coaching staff already.

Current job: Detroit Pistons assistant coach

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Stan Van Gundy

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Stan Van Gundy is also somehow without a job and he is most remembered for taking the underdog Orlando Magic to the conference finals three times and the NBA Finals one time. No coach in Magic franchise history had as many wins as he did and he was praised for the job he had done. However, in 2012, he was known as the coach that Dwight Howard got fired.

Current job: Unemployed NBA coach

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Lionel Hollins

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Hollins was asked to be an assistant coach for the Pistons, but the former Memphis Grizzlies head coach declined as he believed he was worth the head coaching job -- which he was. He brought the Grizzlies out of the cellar to the NBA's elite last season, but was fired for not taking his team to the NBA Finals. He finished with a career 214-201 record with the franchise and three playoff appearances. He was 143-87 in his final three seasons with the Grizzlies.

Current job: Unemployed NBA coach