Though there's no rooting interest for fans of the Detroit Pistons in the NBA playoffs other than exciting basketball, those with an eye on the team's future do have several important storylines to monitor.
Will the Indiana Pacers complete their stunning first round collapse against the Atlanta Hawks, and how will that affect the employment of Frank Vogel? Could the Donald Sterling saga push Doc Rivers out of Los Angeles? If the Clippers end up winning their series, is Mark Jackson finished with Golden State? How about Oklahoma City's Scott Brooks, who has watched his Thunder stumble greatly early on?
Even though the Pistons don't currently have a general manager or public designs on a specific candidate, any one of the coaches mentioned above hitting the open market could create an interesting dynamic in the weeks and months ahead. Instead of picking through the aged elephant graveyard of disgraced NBA veterans, the team could peruse multiple younger, top-flight options, all of which a franchise could build around.
Most intriguing from Detroit's perspective? Vogel, who has led a major turnaround in Indianapolis, turning the Pacers from a decent team into a defensive juggernaut capable of claiming the top spot in the East. Though things have gone bad in a hurry for Vogel during the playoffs and his job may be in danger as a result, he's a far better coach than anyone Detroit has employed in some time.
With the Pistons, Vogel could have some nice pieces in place with Andre Drummond and Greg Monroe, while also being in the same division as Indianapolis, allowing for some potential revenge. In the past, the Pacers and Pistons have traded former coaches before, with Detroit hiring former Indiana boss Larry Brown and the Pacers quickly signing Rick Carlisle afterward.
Jackson, a former player, has helped lead in the Warriors' franchise turnaround the past few seasons, but his tenure may have hit a roadblock because of a lack of winning big in the playoffs. Such ills shouldn't concern the Pistons, who need to get back to making the postseason first.
Rivers, the biggest pipe-dream option, would likely only become available if he chose to leave the Clippers, considering he signed a three-year contract before last season. Still, there's some question about whether Rivers will remain considering he currently has no dialog with his owner. Would a move back to the Eastern Conference and quiet Midwest suddenly become appealing?
This could be a premature talking point considering Detroit hasn't yet had a major general manager candidate surface and all coaches could keep their jobs, but in the games ahead, Detroit fans should be rooting for as much playoff upheaval as possible. A deeper coaching talent pool could only benefit an organization which hasn't had a quality boss since Brown and Flip Saunders departed.
When it comes to the performance of their current teams and issues within their franchises, Vogel, Jackson, Rivers and Brooks might have their own problems, some of which are beyond their control, but the Pistons, regardless of reason, would love to have any combination of the four at their disposal this offseason.
For that to happen, additional levels of playoff chaos are likely necessary.Basketball, Detroit, Detroit Pistons, Doc Rivers, Frank Vogel, Mark Jackson, NBA, Scott Brooks