DETROIT — The Detroit Pistons hired John Beilein as a senior adviser for player development Wednesday, saying the hope is that the former NBA and Michigan coach can help the young team “maximize its potential.”
Owner Tom Gores credited coach Dwane Casey for the decision to add the 68-year-old Beilein.
“There is nothing more important to our franchise right now than the growth and development of our players,” Gores said. “Having spent time with John, we all know he is one of the best teachers in the game of basketball at any level. ”
Beilein spent 12 seasons at Michigan, piling up a 278-150 record as the Wolverines made nine trips to the NCAA Tournament, including five trips to the Sweet 16 and national championship game appearances in 2013 and 2018. He left to become head coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers for part of the 2019-20 season.
A year ago, Beilein resigned after just 54 games and only 14 wins with the rebuilding Cavaliers. The demands of travel, lack of practice time and a group of players who didn’t respond to his coaching style were not a good fit for the veteran coach. His role there also included a mission to develop young talent — much as it will be in Detroit.
“John has been one of the best fundamental teachers in the college game for years,” said Casey, who recently was given a contract extension through the 2023-24 season. “With the age of our core group I wanted to add to our excellent developmental staff. John is a basketball lifer with a passion to help young players get better, especially in the area of shooting.”
The Pistons have a new general manager in Troy Weaver, who is in the midst of an overhaul after a season in which Detroit finished 20-52.
Detroit had three first-round draft picks last season, and two of those players were among the NBA’s top rookies this year. Isaiah Stewart averaged 7.9 points and 6.7 rebounds per game while shooting 55% from the field. Saddiq Bey made 175 3-pointers, tops among all rookies.
Killian Hayes, the No. 7 pick in last year’s draft, went through some injury problems but averaged 6.8 points and 5.3 assists in 26 games.
The Pistons haven’t picked higher than seventh in the draft since 2003. That will change this year, barring a trade, since they are locked in for a top-six pick.