Wednesday, July 06, 2005

If Brown Chucks It, So Should Pistons -- With Daly

When it comes to Pistons coach Larry Brown, no news is news.

Brown's agent Joe Glass met with Pistons president Joe Dumars yesterday, but nothing came of it, really. Of course, this was widely reported -- hence, no news being news when the subject is Brown and his future with the Pistons.

Some, like my colleague at MCS Magazine, Muneesh Jain, have suggested that Brown might be purposely stalling so Dumars has no choice but to let him go. Brown doesn't get paid the remainder of his contract, you see, if he quits, according to Jain and others. Not a real classy thing for Brown to do, but there are some who wouldn't be surprised by such a ploy, if taken by the nomadic coach.

I'm getting tired of it all, to tell you the truth, and since I still don't think there's a chance in hell that Brown is returning to the Pistons, I'm ready to move on. Except I'm not all that jazzed about Flip Saunders and Nate McMillan, two names being bantied about as possible Brown successors.

Instead, there's a man around who is steeped in NBA experience, wise to the ways of winning basketball played with a hard-nosed defensive edge. There's a coach available who was born a gym rat and who might be the ideal choice to be the next coach of the Pistons, if his doctors say it's okay to give it a go.

Chuck Daly looked amazingly spry and energetic during the NBA Finals. He was a fixture around the Pistons throughout the playoffs, doing the guest analyst thing on TV and still sounding like he knows his way around a pick and roll and possessing some ideas about how to slow down guys like Dwyane Wade and Manu Ginobili, among others.

Daly was born with a basketball in his hands and a whistle around his neck

I don't know if he'd do it if asked, but I'd sure ask if I was Dumars. The Pistons are a "win now" kind of team, and they sure don't need a playoff loser like Saunders, a still unproven neophyte like McMillan, or even a rough-around-the-edges man like Bill Laimbeer. They are built to be nosing around the Finals for the next few years, so they could use another short-term guy, like Brown has once again proven to be, to lead them. Daly is 75 and is certainly not a longterm solution, but would do for a couple of seasons. If his health is okay, it dawns on me that there really isn't anyone better or more qualified to coach the Pistons than Chuck Daly.

Daly and owner Bill Davidson would absolutely mesh, as would Daly and his old shooting guard Dumars. Not that the Pistons need it, but Daly would also be an overwhelmingly popular choice in Detroit. They can't fit any more bodies into the Palace on game nights, so they don't need Daly to put fannies into the seats, but it would still be a wonderful P.R. move for the team. Besides, I have a hunch Chuck can still coach a bit.

His post-Pistons career was spotty, no question, with so-so stops in Orlando and New Jersey. But this isn't some rebuilding situation here. This Pistons team is a group that only needs the right prodding and poking to return to the Finals, and Daly did that oh-so-well in Detroit from 1983-92. Few NBA coaches were able to handle the 12 egos that make up a pro roster as brilliantly as Daly. He seemed to know when to coach, when to babysit, and when to let his guys go and be themselves, on and off the court. Chuck Daly was a master with the reins in his hands.

Like I say, I don't know if Daly would even listen to Dumars beyond just being polite, but I have a feeling he just might. Daly appeared to have a twinkle in his eye every time I saw him on TV, talking about the Pistons and their playoff opponents. And when the cameras caught him candidly in the stands, it was clear that he was watching the game with a much more trained, critical eye than even the most knowledgeable, intense fans. I think there is some coaching life left in Chuck Daly's body, and the Pistons would be foolish not to see whether they can coax it out of him.

Chuck would have his Isiah Thomas in Chauncey Billups, his Dumars in Rip Hamilton, his Dennis Rodman in Ben Wallace, and his James Edwards in Rasheed Wallace. The only thing missing would be his Laimbeer, but I think Chuck could have some fun coaching Tayshaun Prince instead. Antonio McDyess could be his Vinnie Johnson -- canned heat off the bench. The names would be different, but the roles would be virtually the same. We could call it the Bad Boys Revival Tour.

Anyhow, it's just a thought. Dumars might not even be considering it, and again, Daly might not be either. But if either one of them is open to the idea, then I think it's worth pursuing.

They brought Hubie Brown back, didn't they?
What do YOU think? As always, I'm eager to hear from you. Post a comment or email me at to chime in.


dolphinfan said...

I'm not for sure that Chuck would give it a go again. Those were special times that created special memories. I'm not sure if he would want to risk tarnishing that.

Brian said...

What's the old saying? You can't go home, again. Daly's time has passed. It's time to work on lowering his handicap.