I don’t think there’s any doubt that Michael Curry could have been better prepared to deal with the ups and downs in his only season as an NBA head coach. Listening to John Kuester months before he fills Curry’s seat, the man’s wheels are in motion on a whole other level. This Pistons team is a middle-of-the-pack unit in the eastern conference; solid relationships, as well as thorough practice, game, and backup plans will do a lot in hopes of overachieving. If anything, Kuester will be a far better sound bite for media and fans in the blue collar city – the man is extremely well spoken. Several new parts, definitely some talent, but Kuester has his hands full. Did Joe Dumars make good on his second rookie head coach hiring in two years? Kuester joined WDFN to discuss the interview process, his experience, and how he’s preparing right now.
Why do you have more experience than Michael Curry as a rookie head coach?
“I’ve been in the league for 20 years, I’ve been an assistant for 14, and 10 out of the last 11 I’ve had an opportunity to be in the playoffs. The experience of having the opportunity to work with a number of outstanding players, and having been here in ’04 when we won a championship, I think allows me to say that I have experience. Moving over, there’s no question, it’s a difference, but working with players, the ability to formulate your game plan of what you want offensively and defensively are things that I’m familiar with.”
What is the interview like for an NBA head coach?
“In my situation, which is probably different from some of the other candidates, you have to have a plan: what you wanna do with your players, what you wanna do with your practices, what you wanna do with your shootarounds, what you wanna do with your offensive game plan / defensive game plan. I think that is something that has to be discussed, which was, and that was were the process was very thorough… Our conversations on the phone lasted almost, one of them was like two and a half hours, the next one was like two hours, we met for almost two and a half, three hours before that in person.”
What are you doing right now in terms of communicating with your players?
“For our players to be able to feel comfortable and feel good about what they are on the basketball court, communication’s gonna be a huge thing and that’s something that I have a relationship with Rip, I have a relationship with Tayshaun, I’ve pretty much been out to dinner with two thirds of the team right now. That’s what we’re doing right at this stage is meeting with people, making sure we form a relationship that’s gonna be special.”