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Detroit Pistons’ Reshape: Pivoting From Former Coach of the Year?

The Pistons might move off head coach Monty Williams.

As the Detroit Pistons continue to reshape their front office, the spotlight remains on head coach Monty Williams. When Williams, renowned for his successful tenure at the Phoenix Suns, signed a 6-year, $78.5 million deal in 2023, the hope was that he would bring his winning touch to a Pistons team starved for playoff action since 2019. However, Williams’ debut season in Detroit became a nightmare instead of a triumphant turnaround. After a promising 2-1 start, the Pistons spiraled into a catastrophic 28-game losing streak, a challenge that no coach could easily overcome, ending the season with a franchise-worst 68 losses.

With the recent firing of GM Troy Weaver and the appointment of Trajan Langdon as the new president of basketball operations, the question of Monty Williams’ future looms large. Armed with the authority to overhaul the staff, Langdon faces a tough decision. With $65 million still owed Williams on his contract, is it time to cut losses and move on, or should Williams be given another chance to prove his mettle? And if he goes, who could steer this sinking ship? Let’s delve into the potential future of the Pistons’ coaching role and explore possible candidates for the job, a future that holds the promise of change and new opportunities.

Detroit Pistons’ Reshape: Pivoting From Former Coach of the Year?

Monty Williams Pistons: A Relationship Doomed From The Beginning

When Monty Williams was let go as the head coach of the Phoenix Suns, he wanted to take some time off. The Pistons were looking for a coach who would change the trajectory of their franchise by developing the young pieces they had in place. Initially, Williams wanted no part of the job, and rightfully so. Winning is always sweet, but “with great success comes great stress.” On top of that, going from Phoenix to Detroit is another significant change.

Financial Strain

Tom Gores was determined to get Williams at all costs, which meant throwing more money at him. Financial incentives often motivate even the most unmotivated individuals to provide services when offered additional compensation. During the season, it became evident that the motivation wasn’t there. Williams made questionable decisions about starting lineups and rotational minutes that didn’t align with the team’s makeup. Williams isn’t Langdon’s hire, so this could spell the end for him as the Pistons’ head coach.

If The Pistons fire the Monty Williams…Who Got Next?

Should Monty Williams be dismissed as Pistons head coach, numerous deserving candidates could enter the role.

James Borrego

James Borrego is the associate head coach of the New Orleans Pelicans, helping the team rank in the top 10 in opponents’ points per game and defensive rating. As the former coach of the Charlotte Hornets and Orlando Magic, Borrego had a record of 148-183 during his five seasons as a head coach. Borrego may be the ideal candidate if the goal is to improve the Pistons’ 26th-ranked defense.

Darvin Ham

Darvin Ham could be the right choice if the Pistons want to reconnect with their championship roots. As the head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers for the past two seasons, Ham achieved a 90-74 record, leading the Lakers to the Western Conference finals in 2022-23 and a playoff appearance in 2023-24. Under Ham, the Lakers were 8th in points per game, top five in pace, and middle of the pack in defensive rating.

Kenny Atkinson

Kenny Atkinson, now a Golden State Warriors assistant coach, previously led the Brooklyn Nets for four seasons as head coach. In the 2018-19 season, Atkinson led a Brooklyn team with low expectations to a 42-40 record, making the playoffs. If developing young talent and maximizing their potential is a priority, Atkinson might be the perfect fit.

Sam Cassell

Sam Cassell is widely regarded as one of the top assistant coaches in the NBA. He has extensive coaching experience with teams like the Washington Wizards, LA Clippers, Philadelphia 76ers, and Boston Celtics. Cassell, a 14-season NBA player and three-time champion, offers invaluable experience and potential as the Pistons’ player-coach.

The Last Word

The Detroit Pistons are at a crossroads, with Monty Williams’ future in balance. After a season filled with unexpected turmoil and record-setting losses, the Pistons’ leadership faces a monumental decision. Will they give Williams another shot to prove his mettle, or will they seek new blood to rejuvenate the team? Candidates like James Borrego, Kenny Atkinson, and Sam Cassell each bring unique strengths.

This decision will shape the Pistons’ future, determining if they stay in the doldrums or reclaim their legacy. Pistons fans anticipate change, seeing new opportunities and a potential for a brighter, more prosperous era.


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