Patrick Ewing, the greatest player to ever don orange and blue on the NBA hardwood, may finally be getting his chance as an NBA head coach in the near future.
Ewing, who has certainly put in the time, an assistant coach since 2003, is drawing interest from the Detroit Pistons to be their next man with the plan.
The Pistons are run by Joe Dumars, who obviously faced Ewing as a competitor, but also recently brought in Dave Checketts, the former Knicks President who ran the team during Ewing’s glory days, as a consultant.
Can these two allies rally together to grant Ewing the opportunity he has sought for years? The former Knicks center, who during his playing days was known as “The Beast of the East,” has been trying to dismiss the notion that he is simply a big man’s coach and could efficiently run his own team.
Over the years, however, Ewing has mostly garnered recognition for the development of two of the league’s best big men today, Yao Ming and Dwight Howard. It may very well take Checketts to convey that Ewing can foresee his own team as a coach, just as well as he led the Knicks as a player for many years.
While many teams, including the Knicks, have chosen to overlook Ewing time and time again for a head coaching job, the Pistons may his best fit to date. They are certainly a young team looking for guidance with not much to lose or risk after quite a few losing seasons already. Furthermore, a true’s player’s coach like Ewing who knows what his players go through may ultimately benefit the Pistons after many players feuded with fired John Kuester last season.
As a side note, depending on what Pistons’ brass mindset is, it’s likely that Ewing would demand a lesser salary than a coach like Lawrence Frank or Mike Woodson, two proven NBA playoff coaching candidates.
Given his success as a player and impact on some of the league’s best today as an assistant, it’s obvious that all Ewing needs is a chance at the next level to prove he’s got what it takes to be a good head coach.