Really…Zeljko Obradovic as the new Pistons Head Coach?

by | Apr 22, 2013 | 43 comments

It’s bad enough that I can’t spell Viacheslav “Slava” Kravtsov without looking at his Wikipedia page, but I hope I don’t have to contend with the new rumor in Pistons land.  It seem as though the new rumor is that Detroit is looking at overseas champion Zeljko Obradovic for the Pistons vacant head coach position.

Look I have no clue who he is other than this ridiculously awesome and expressive picture of him.

Let’s take a look at his Wiki page, which is all I can really tell you about him since he hasn’t coached an NBA game in his career.

Obradović’s greatness as a basketball head coach is fully confirmed by the great collection of titles he has acquired in his seventeen-year career as a coach: a record eight pro sports club European Champions Cups (with four different teams), two Saporta Cups, numerous domestic league championships and cups, the silver medal at the 1996 Olympics Basketball Tournament, the gold medal at the 1997 FIBA European Championship, the gold medal at the 1998 FIBA World Championship, and the bronze medal at the 1999 FIBA European Championship while coaching the FR Yugoslavian national basketball team, where he was the head coach from 1996–00. He was also the head coach of the Serbia and Montenegro national basketball team in 2004–05.[1]
He was the head coach of Panathinaikos Athens from 1999 to 2012, leading the team to become the top club in European club basketball during that time, while simultaneously maintaining the club at the top position in the Greek national championship. In total, Obradović won 11 Greek Championships, 7 Greek Cups and 5 Euroleague titles (2000, 2002, 2007, 2009 and 2011) with the “Greens”. In 2007, he achieved winning the highly coveted Triple Crown championship for the second time as a head coach (the first was in 1992 with Partizan) and won the Euroleague Coach of the Year award. Also in 2009, he managed for third time this achievement in Berlin as a head coach. In 2011 he won his 8th Euroleague trophy with Panathinaikos. His list of titles is unmatched by any other current European coach.

Cool…so he’s won a #@$% load of European Championships, does that mean Detroit is better off with him than they were with L Frank? I’m guessing that the list of top sports betting sites aren’t putting Zeljko Obradovic at the top of the list of candidates for the Pistons new head coach position.

At this point is it really about the coach?

Do we really want another to give another coach the head coach position that’s never been one in the NBA yet?

This team clearly has issues.


  1. Markov7

    omg!!! is it true zeljko obradovic is coming to detroit?????if it is then pistons are goin to make playoffs next year 99% i m sure and we can see stuckey go away or he ll definately start playin as we all expect him to play woow if this really happens i cant wait for next season to start and lol we can hear lots of bip bip censorship in their practices hhhhhhh

  2. Markov7

    NBA rumors: Pistons considering Zeljko Obradovic to replace Lawrence Frank

    Of all the rumored candidates to replace Lawrence Frank, here’s a name I bet most of you haven’t heard: Zeljko Obradovic. For those not familiar (including me), let’s turn to Wikipedia:

    [Obradovic] is a Serbian professional basketball coach and a former professional basketball player. He is generally considered one of the best European coaches ever, having won eight Euroleague (only Real Madrid has won 8 Euroleague titles) titles with four different clubs. In addition to his success at the club level, he has won major trophies as Serbian national basketball team head coach, such as the 1997 FIBA European Championship and the 1998 FIBA World Championship.

    In 2008, he was named one of the 50 Greatest Euroleague Contributors.

    In other words, he’s apparently the Serbian Phil Jackson. How is he linked to Detroit? According to the Spanish site The Counter (via HoopsHype), the Pistons have already contacted Obradovic. That is, I think that’s what it says. The Google Translation is really rough — hopefully DBB’s Spanish-speaking readers can help out in the comments:

    Important news in European basketball. For the first time a coach from Europe is a candidate to coach a franchise NBA next season. Zeljko Obradovic is right now in the slate of candidates to replace Lawrence Frank in Detroit. The list was reduced to two this weekend leaving an American coach and him.

    […] Obradovic’s arrival as coach Detroit Pistons will immediately open franchising to sound more European coaches in the future. If Pau Gasol led the influx of players from Europe, Obradovic may emerge as the architect for the European coach finally not see the NBA as inaccessible. […] The dilemma of Joe Dumars as may be historic decision for the development of basketball in the United States and here in Europe.

    It appears that Obradovic has been unemployed since leaving Greece’s Panathinaikos Athens in 2012, but he spent October in Detroit observing training camp, and traveled to London to watch them during their overseas trip. From an interview with El Juego de Naismith:

    I’ll tell you one thing, I’ve been training in October watching the Detroit Pistons in the preseason and has been something really, really nice to me. Then I saw the first official match played at home against Houston and then invited me to the game they played in London. After this, the Copa del Rey de Vitoria was the next time that I have seen live basketball. On television, I have not seen more than half an hour, I do not see much, I’m totally disconnecting basketball, I see Euroleague games occasionally but never a full game. I follow him, I see a game of the ACB league, but never see it whole.

    Keith Langlois mentioned Obradovic’s Detroit connection in a story from the London trip:

    Coaching legend Zeljko Obradovic – he’s the European Phil Jackson, with eight European Championships under his belt at coaching stops in Yugoslavia, Italy, Spain and Greece – was in attendance with longtime assistant Dmitris Itoudis. They spent all of October in Auburn Hills observing the Pistons throughout training camp and preseason. Obradovic’s presence caused a stir among the European press. One reporter asked Austin Daye if he was prodding Obradovic for any tips.

    “I’ve talked to him,” Daye said. “But I haven’t asked him for any advice.”

    So, there you have it. Take this report with a grain of salt, but it’s certainly interesting to think about. Would you be happy to see the Pistons hire such an accomplished head coach, or does his lack of NBA experience worry you?

  3. Markov7

    nat trust me as i m european obradovic and frank cannot come into same word not even scentence

    • Natalie Sitto

      If he comes here I hope you’re right Markov. But I trust you since you are familiar with him it just would be a big transition.

      • Markov7

        he s serb i m croat lol we both know each others perfectly and if serbs have any qualitys lol :p than it is basketball knowledge and coaches

        • RealGMToni

          As a Albanian and Montenegrian I don’t want a SERB as my PISTONS coach ! A HRVAT I would not mind because Petrovic and Kukoc were my fav basketball players in europe and in NBA 🙂

          • Markov7

            i dsont care as long as they re winning and playin watchable basketball

  4. Markov7

    like the pic says : if he comes itll be his way or nobodys way (that includes gores too) but isnt that what this team needs? gosh i m so exited i feel like he already said he ll come (if he even got a call from gores) and now this rumour came up i d be dissapointed if he doesent become head coach

  5. Markov7


  6. T1theinfamous

    From what I’ve been reading about him,he’s a great coach. My worry would be about what happens if we get him but we’re still stuck with the same group of subpar players who are also playing out of position? Without a few roster moves even a good coach can’t lead Detroit towards a championship.

  7. edt

    Obradovic has the short fuse and ego of bobby knight and the micromanaging dictator style of avery johnson. I want him as coach only to see him beat Sheed’s records of technicals. Would be a good college coach.

    • edt

      NBA coach has to manage egos, not be the ego. Just how it is. He’s not an NBA style coach.

      • Markov7

        that is yet to be seen i m afraid but imagine european basketball knowledge and team play (yes european coaches ARE tacitally bether than usa)+ american athleticism??hmmm dont tell me it isnt intresting and hell i d rather to see him be a head coach rather thatn nate “2 sorts of plays” mcmillan or jeff “crybaby” van gundy.stan van gundy is obviously not coming and like u said bill isnt gonna be coach when cuester and frank were choices in front of him

        • edt

          I agree it would be fun but not for long he would get fired before he the his first chair

          • Markov7

            i agree with u egos have to drop and thats tough but look as far as i understand there are no better coaches available as i see it svg aint coming bill aint coming i really hope nate wont be the choice sloan i d like but really u think he s coming?i dont think so and the others only one that sounds intresting is that popovichs assist coach B-something but then again if its him and obradovic i m always taking winner – obradovic he is the proven one and noone can tell me opposite he s got more basketball in his little finger nail than all asisstants coaches in the league + take a look at this parrarel remember the 90-s when it was thought europeans cannot play in nba?then came late petrovic who adelman didnt want to play and he could easily be on first line up in portland,then came sabonis,kukoc,radja marculionis divac and they all showed – THEY CAN PLAY IN THE NBA they were european elite problems began 10 -12 years later when all opened up and now u got on one nowitzki u get 10 bargnanis or darkos but whats my point is if u look at that perspective obradovic would be pionieer and maybe if not best of the best in europe so i d be very satisfied if he came but if he wouldnt have support from joe and gores he doesent need to come cose someon needs to wake up thos lasy bastrds in uniforms and he is the man for that
            dman this is too long for me :p i hope u get my pic

            • Markov7

              lol i just read what i wrote ok long story short :obradovic is elite coach and a mean mutherfucker and in my opinion that is what this team needs + 4-5 vaives or trades

            • edt

              totally agree it’s worth a try and it fits perfectly with dumars style. Hire a coach you KNOW you will have to fire in two years.

              Make his contract a 1 year, and I would be even happier. I hate how much money we waste by firing coaches early.

              Would Obradovic agree to a 1 year contract NO WAY

              he will want a 3-5 year contract, and plenty of money, which will be a waste when we have to fire him because he and charlie V get into a fist fight on live tv because charlie missed a defensive assignment.

              What Obradovic doesn’t understand is that in euro if a coach and player fight, the player gets fired.

              In the NBA if a player and coach fight, the coach gets fired.

              That’s basically why he’s not an NBA style coach. He’s got way too big temper and GIANT ego to change at this point, plus he has tons of championships, why would he humble himself just to be on the NBA coaching merry go round.

              • Markov7

                lol dont get me wrong but this post and the lowest one u wrote looool man i love u r style if i ever come to detroit (but as things stand i wont) i buying u a six-pack at least but u gotta be optimmistic ok i must admit i read a few things this afternoon and i can understand u r attitude and i see that joe d s doin everything to save his ass so if that means get shitty coach and blame it on him as long as himself stays on payroll for neext year thats what he ll do but then again that same scenario stands for ne other coach so ok macmillan for example wont kick charliev with an uppercut on national tv but will “fuck his mother” in his living room and regulary collect pay-check every 1st in month – would u be satisfied with that?thats what was happening so far right?
                oh one more thing i may be wrong but i think u re mixing ego with passion obradovic is ego maniac that s true but he aint stupid u know althoough we from balcans like to show passion in weirdest ways (i dunno check every rambo movie final scene lol) and i must agree with u about coach-players fights in europe and usa so hiring obradovic would be a “sword with 2 opposite blades” but than again looking just from game perspective i dont see anyone better to take exepct maybe sloan and that Buldozer guy from spurs

                • edt

                  yeah we aren’t getting bulldozer he’s got his eye on that san fran job when the warriors move.

                  • Markov7

                    ????warriors move??why would they get rid of mark jackson???first time i hear this

                    • edt

                      nm your right I was reading one of the rumors but it don’t make sense

  8. Tycoon

    Why is it too hard to consider Laimbeer?

    • edt

      lambeer has been consider many times over the past five years no reason to look again if he couldn’t beat keuster for the job he won’t get it now

      • Natalie Sitto

        I love Laimbeer but Pistons fans have to understand he’s not getting the job here or anywhere else for that matter. Dude won championships in the WNBA and was an assistant in the NBA for a minute. It’s well known hes not liked around the league so it’s going to take a heck of a miracle for him to land the job,

        Think about it…if Michael Curry got the job from Joe and he Laimbeer didn’t doesnt that say something?

  9. Corey

    Laimbeer isn’t in the discussion because it’s been reported countless times that his interviews were underwhelming. Just because a guy displayed tough-as-nails grit on the court does not make them an awesome tough-as-nails coach. I’m even more baffled by all the people who keep bringing his name up. Obviously, if he was a beast-mode coach, someone would have given him a shot. I honestly think, as Jeff Van Gundy mentioned, that it starts from the top down. Obviously Tom Gores gets a free pass since he’s just now starting. But the continued inability to capitalize on free agency, roster improvements, etc of Joe Dumars has got to be addressed. I don’t have anything against the guy at all, I think he’s a great person, but you have to know when to cut your losses and change from the top down. We look at the coaches every single time (and sometimes with good reason), but I just think that if we could bring in Frank, who I thought did an excellent job aside from the mysterious Jerebko benching and other little quirks, and still manage to not make progress, at what point is it just the coaches fault? It’s getting ridiculous.

    • edt

      Right on

    • terry

      Franks was not a good coach this year. Dare I say he regressed from a pretty shaky year 1. Among those little quirks you mentioned was constant tinkering (ala Qster), being on auto coach with the Subbing of entire units, not putting Drummond out there with Monroe early, and how bad did Max have to play before he would give JJ (probably the most relieved at the firing) a shot? Why not explore diff matchups when 6’5 max is getting abused in the post when we got athletic defensive centers? I agree with the Laimeer point, but JVG is a bit of a tool, and while Joe D. hasnt been great in decision making the last 4 years he made up for a lot this year in my book. I think Jo knows what his mistakes were and that can be valuable (learning from mistakes) going forward, but he’s also had people in his way. We all know Karen put the cuffs on him forcing him to go for cheap (inexperienced) coach, and to counter her he quickly signed two free agents to boost our weak offense once she shot him down on boozer. If they played up to even 75% of their normal stats people wouldnt be so hard on Joe, but they flopped. Dumars then was over ridden on the last coach hiring as Frank was Gores choice. Joey D. would’ve hired Woodson which was the right call. You wont find any gms with a perfect track record, and some have the fortune of of being in Cali, Florida, and Texas.

  10. Lori

    Why can’t we just get a guy with a proven NBA record for once? I’ve always liked SVG, for example, and there are others. This young team needs a steady, experienced coach. Frank was fine, but no genius.

    I disagree with calling for Joe D’s head. The man has had his hands tied for years as far as trades, free agents and spending on expensive coaches. We could not have gotten much better draft picks than Drummond and Monroe. Finally, Joe gets money and the time to make good choices this year. Judge him after next season.

  11. Bellissimo

    im hearing nate mcmillion as a candidate from portland. sometimes it bugs me how coaches just get shuffled around a lot. i think we all know what a championship coach looks like in our mind. I like nate mcmillion but he’s a guy who didn’t really use talent well either.

    • Markov7

      i honestly think he couldnt do better job with this team than frank did ok maybe we d get 5-6 more wins and thats it

  12. Franz

    While I was looking on different ball sites over the last week, I couldn’t really find a (head coaching) name that fitted with the Pistons. I was thinking about an available american coach, that gets instant respect. Since Larry Brown (and I guess a little Flip), all coaches have had problems with players here. They started to disrespect the coach. I think that players getting a big head is normal: the background they have, and probably making more money in one year, than a lot of fans will make in one life, can influence and augment a rebellion, even against their immediate boss (coach).

    Then I thought, that we need a coach that gets instant respect and is very tough and hard on the outside (look at Phil Jackson or Popovich). Finally I thought that maybe they should go over to Europe and search for a coach there. Obradovic is a great option. Even more, if we could get american assistant coaches. That mix would be great.

    Wait and see.

  13. edt

    I have to say one thing about coaches. If you are bleeding rich and want to waste money on a team, DONT spend it on players. That never works, you get stuck up against the cap, loose flexibility end up with bad contracts.

    If you want to waste money, throw it at coaches. You can fire them after a year, and even though you might waste 10-20 million it doesn’t go against the cap, doesn’t hurt your salary, your roster, all you wasted is a bit of money.

    So yeah, I hope we spend like a drunken sailor on our next coach, not because it does any good, but that any money Gores wastes on coaching . . . it means he is less likely to bring overpaid underperforming players like josh smith to detroit.

  14. Vorka

    I am a Lakers fan, but I would take Obradovic over D’Antoni anytime. Zeljko Obradovic would take Pistons to another level, this guy is as good as they come. Probably it would take some adjustment time, but if you want a coach to turn this team around, Obradovic is your man.

    • Vorka

      Pistons should consider them lucky if they sign Obradovic as head coach, mark my words.

  15. terry

    Obrakavic should get a good look, but the young players we got probably woul respect a known respected nba need a balace of tough defense minded, but knows how to gel with players as well as implement sound offensive schemes.

  16. Franz

    I think if you do not respect Obradovic, then you won’t respect any american coach. This guys has a great reputation for discipline and demands 100 % from his players every day!

    And I don’t really see any american / NBA coach that is on the market right now who will get the same respect as he will. Just my thoughts.

    • Markov7


  17. Panathinaikos_Athens

    People in Detroit, you are about to sign a contract with the Championship next year!! Wish you luck “Zots” (used to call Obradovic as “Zots” here in Athens), greetings from Greece!

  18. souly

    obradovic is the best basketball coach ever. USA including. period.


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