NBA

Pistons reportedly hire Bickerstaff as coach

By Sports Desk June 30, 2024

J. B. Bickerstaff helped transform a fledgling franchise into a contender in his last job.

The Pistons are hoping he can do the same in Detroit.

The Pistons hired Bickerstaff as coach on Sunday, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

Terms of the deal were not reported.

Bickerstaff becomes Detroit's third coach in as many seasons after Monty Williams was fired on June 19 after going an NBA-worst 14-68 in only season on the sidelines.

 

The Pistons had given Williams a six-year, $78.5million contract last June after he was fired by the Phoenix Suns following the 2022-23 season.

At the time, the deal was the richest ever for an NBA head coach.

Under Williams, however, Detroit struggled mightily, setting an NBA single-season record by losing 28 straight games after opening 2-1.

The Pistons have finished in last place in the Central Division each of the last four seasons and have missed the play-offs 13 of the last 15 seasons. They haven't won a play-off series since 2008.

Detroit is desperate for a change in direction having been in turmoil for more than a decade, and Bickerstaff recently helped turn a struggling franchise around, leading the Cleveland Cavaliers to their first play-off series win in six years last month.

Despite reaching the second round of the play-offs, the Cavaliers fired Bickerstaff on May 23.

In five seasons in Cleveland, Bickerstaff went 170-159 and led the franchise to the play-offs each of the last two years. He was under contract through 2026.

In 2023-24, the 45-year-old Bickerstaff helped direct Cleveland to a 48-34 record and the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference play-offs.

The Cavs then beat the Orlando Magic in the first round for the franchise's first play-off series win since the team lost to the Golden State Warriors in the 2018 NBA Finals. It also marked Cleveland's first trip to the conference semi-finals without LeBron James on the roster since 1992-93.

The Cavs' season ended in the conference semis, where they lost to the future NBA-champion Boston Celtics in five games.

Bickerstaff's team, however, was significantly undermanned with five-time All-Star Donovan Mitchell missing the final two games against the Celtics with a left calf strain and fellow All-Star Jarrett Allen missing the last eight play-off games due to a right rib contusion.

Bickerstaff now joins a young Pistons team that includes 2021 No. 1 overall pick Cade Cunningham and the fifth overall pick of this year's draft, Ron Holland II.

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