On Wednesday, Pistons President Stan Van Gundy announced that his former college basketball rival, Jeff Bower, would be filling Joe Dumars’ shoes as general manager for the Pistons organization. Bower coached his first year at Marist College, where he had a 12-19 record, last season.
Before accepting the job at Marist, Bower worked with the New Orleans Hornets off and on for many years. As a coach in New Orleans, Bower secured a 34-39 record. His record as a general manager for the city’s team was slightly more positive. In 2005, he made the key decision to draft Chris Paul. Yet, the franchise still struggled with losing records, dealing with injury and the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
Overall, Bower’s presence in New Orleans was positive. He made the playoffs three times in five seasons as general manager for the Hornets.
Many complications at play during the offseason can make the job daunting for any returning administrator, let alone for two first years employees.
Van Gundy is enthusiastic — or at least seems enthusiastic — to have creative control over the Pistons. As coach and president, he has the power necessary to build the team he wants. More importantly, he has the power to build the staff he wants and Van Gundy wants Bower.
The two have a similar past, as they both coached smaller colleges while they began their careers. And similar principles and attitudes toward basketball are icing on the cake. In addition to Bower, Van Gundy hired three new assistant coaches while letting go some old ones, as he opted to keep John Loyer.
As far as Bower goes, his role to the team is invaluable. Van Gundy is placing an enormous amount of trust in his new general manager. Both men will undoubtedly face fair share of tests this season, beginning with the loss of the team’s first round pick.
Fans just wish their new leaders’ experience overcomes the obstacles.
Colin Jackson is a multimedia journalist for Impact Sports.