Well, this name sure came out of the blue.
The Detroit Pistons highly-publicized search for a head coach took a new turn Friday, as TNT analyst and NBA.com contributor David Aldrige reported the Pistons interviewed Orlando Magic assistant Patrick Ewing for their vacancy.
The 49-year-old Ewing was a superior big man during his NBA career, and he has worked as a “big man” assistant with Houston and as an assistant with Stan Van Gundy’s Orlando Magic, tutoring Yao Ming and Dwight Howard, respectively.
Ewing has a burning desire to become a head coach, but like other candidates on Detroit’s list, he is short on meaningful experience as an NBA head man. It will be interesting to see if the Pistons are serious about hiring somebody who’s been an NBA head coach or if they are willing to roll the dice on someone without any experience.
The interviews to Ewing, Bill Laimbeer and Kelvin Sampson could merely be a courtesy to each one of those men to help them build their resumes and get used to the interview process — especially seeing as early this week, it was reported by the New York Daily News that ex-Nets head coach Lawrence Frank was inching closer to becoming the new Pistons boss.
Ewing’s name entering the mix is intriguing. As a player, there were few big men as rugged and durable as he was throughout his entire career. He’s certainly been paying his dues as an assistant in the NBA and has worked with a few All-Star players on solid teams. He knows a thing or two about defense and has the talent to mentor potential All-Star players. His candidacy could be akin to Laimbeer’s.
Now, it is time to wait and see. Joe Dumars and Tom Gores could pare down their list and bring the serious contenders in for a second interview in the coming weeks. Or they could simply hire a more qualified candidate, like the previously-interviewed Mike Woodson or Frank. If Ewing comes back to Motown, you can bet he’s a serious contender for the position.