The Pistons are still coach-hunting after firing John Kuester a couple weeks ago. Ken Berger of CBSSports.com listed a couple candidates weeks ago that Detroit was targeting — Kelvin Sampson and Lawrence Frank — and both of those guys have interviewed. Also in the mix is former Piston Bill Laimbeer and former Hawks coach Mike Woodson will interview sometime next week.
Now, a new darkhorse has emerged. According to NBA.com, Magic assistant Patrick Ewing will get an interview as well.
Ewing, 49, has long desired to be a head coach, and has decried what he viewed as pigeonholing him as a “big man” assistant, a role he has undertaken while an assistant coach in Houston with Yao Ming and in Orlando with Dwight Howard. Ewing has said that he does a lot more than just work with bigs and is ready to run a team. He badly wanted to get a shot with the Knicks, the team for whom he became a superstar after being taken first overall in the 1985 Draft.
Ewing really wants to be a head coach. For whatever reason, he hasn’t been able to move past his type-casting as a big man assistant. Clearly, Ewing has done excellent work where he’s been — Houston and Orlando — with the big men he’s worked with. Dwight Howard has been his top project and he has done an incredible job bringing him along in terms of footwork and ball skills.
“It’s disappointing that I haven’t moved to the next step to getting a head coaching job, but all I can do is keep working hard and keep on preparing myself for whenever that opportunity arises,” Ewing told the New York Daily News recently. ”A lot of people try to pigeonhole me into just a big man’s coach and I’m just not a big man’s coach. I’m a coach.”
Maybe it’s time for Ewing to get a shot. Eventually, I’m sure he will. If not now with the Pistons, at some point. Sometimes the best way to break through is to get on a staff where a lame duck coach might be ahead of him and be ready to supplant him as an interim. Maybe that’s what it will eventually take, but there will be a job out there for Ewing I’m sure.