The Pistons want to become younger and more athletic as they transition into the Tom Gores era of basketball. That means they need a coach who is a teacher and builder and is patient enough to lose now in hope of a brighter future.
Who is the best person to fill that void left by the firing of John Kuester? That is a question Pistons president Joe Dumars, his right-hand man Scott Perry and Gores will answer after the NBA draft.
Here are leading candidates and others who should be considered for the job.
Sampson has a history of working with young players after coaching and winning at four different colleges. He also successfully coached United States amateur teams in world competition.
He has four years of NBA assistant coaching experience in Milwaukee, but must overcome the perception that he is a college coach. He is an outgoing guy who comes across as a players’ coach. The question is, can he be stern with a team that needs discipline? He already has an ally in town in Detroit Titans coach Ray McCallum, who coached under him at the University of Indiana.
Coaches say there’s bite behind that smile. If the Pistons get younger, Sampson’s ways might work.