Pistons hire former Michigan, Cavaliers coach John Beilein in player development role

·3 min read

John Beilein is headed back to the NBA.

The longtime Michigan coach will join the Detroit Pistons as a senior advisor of player development, the team announced on Wednesday afternoon.

“There is nothing more important to our franchise right now than the growth and development of our players,” Pistons owner Tom Gores said in a statement. “Having spent time with John, we all know he is one of the best teachers in the game of basketball at any level. [Coach Dwane Casey’s] decision and desire to bring him on board underscores our commitment to helping this young Pistons team maximize its potential. John will be a real asset to the organization and we are fortunate to have him join us.”

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Beilein returns to NBA after short Cavs stint

Beilein spent nearly three decades at the collegiate level, starting with two five-year stints at Canisius and Richmond in the 1990s and early 2000s. He then jumped to West Virginia for five seasons before landing at Michigan in 2007.

With the Wolverines, Beilein compiled an impressive 278-150 record while reaching two Final Fours, five Sweet 16s and a pair of both Big Ten regular season and conference tournament titles.

After 12 seasons in Ann Arbor, Beilein left Michigan to make the jump to the NBA for the vacant Cleveland Cavaliers job. He lasted just 54 games before he resigned, however, and only won 14 games.

Players reportedly took issue with his “nitpicking over basic fundamentals,” animal terminology and more. He also called Cavaliers players “thugs” during a film session, but apologized the next day. His players trolled him in the weeks that followed by reportedly playing “thug”-themed music when he was in earshot.

Though his first trip to the NBA didn’t go as planned, Gores and Pistons coach Dwane Casey think the 68-year-old will fit in much better in Detroit as they work to rebuild the organization after finishing 20-52 last season.

The Pistons have the pieces to do it, too — they had three first-round draft picks which they used to land Isaiah Stewart, Saddiq Bey and Killian Hayes — and will have at least a top-six pick in the draft this year.

“John has been one of the best fundamental teachers in the college game for years,” Casey said in a statement. “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. We have an excellent group of young development coaches who have done a good job with our young core. John will add to and enrich the development staff’s quest to get our youth brigade to the next level.”

Head Coach John Beilein of the Cleveland Cavaliers
After a short, unsuccessful stint with the Cavaliers, John Beilein is headed back to the NBA. (Mike Stobe/Getty Images)

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