As reported on ESPN earlier, and also here by the dreamy Justin Rogers of MLive, the Pistons and Head Coach John Kuester will be going their separate ways after 2 long seasons with Kuester at the helm.
55 – 107 57 – 107 as coach of the Detroit Pistons. This was the first NBA head coaching gig for the 56 year old Kuester, who was formerly an assistant coach under Coach Mike Brown and the Cleveland Cavaliers, after being a coach for the Orlando Magic, Philadelphia 76ers, New Jersey Nets and Boston Celtics. Prior to his time in the NBA he was the head coach for the George Washington Colonials and Boston University Bears and as an assistant coach for the University of Richmond Spiders.
Coach Kuester was known for being an offensive mastermind after his time in Cleveland with LeBron James, but more importantly for the Pistons organization, he had served on former Piston coach Larry Brown’s staff in 2003-2004.
Kuester, a former University of North Carolina player, will likely be heading to the Los Angeles Lakers to be an assistant coach under new coach Mike Brown. Brown, who was hired as LA Lakers head coach less than a week ago, had already expressed an interest in bringing Kuester over with him on his staff.
Kuester was never really accepted by the Pistons fans because his name either wasn’t Bill Laimbeer or he wasn’t Avery Johnson, etc. Coach Kuester was put into a bad spot by the organization with a roster in transition, that was bound to decline after the success of the early 2000s. Kuester was given Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva as free agents in his first season as coach, but the Pistons couldn’t find a home for eventual malcontent Richard Hamilton which left the team extraordinarily deep at the shooting guard position.
During his time with the Pistons, Kuester clashed with Rodney Stuckey and Richard Hamilton and often dealt with problems through the media rather than being straight forward with his players. While no one should argue Kuester mismanaged the available talent, it should be noted that he never did establish a set rotation of players. The Pistons roster is in flux after years of consistency, which is President Joe Dumars’ primary responsibility.
Moving forward, the Pistons have a steady core of young players with Greg Monroe and Jonas Jerebko. Rodney Stuckey is coming off of another year of ups and downs and is a restricted free agent. Ben Gordon and Charlie V are now going into their 3rd year of 5 year contracts (with player options for 6th years) as well. Tayshaun Prince is an unrestricted free agent, and Richard Hamilton has 1 more fully guaranteed season left on his contract.
The next Pistons coach will be inheriting virtually the same roster as Kuester, minus Chris Wilcox and likely Tayshaun Prince. There could be a chance that Prince is signed and traded, and while I had once thought he would be a good fit in LA with the Lakers, now that Coach Kuester is heading there as an assistant, it’s an unlikely destination.
What are your thoughts about Coach Kuester being out as the coach? Is it a good move for the Pistons? What do you think should be the next move?