Now that we know who the Wizards next head coach is going to be, we can begin to focus on examining his coaching style and what changes Flip Saunders will bring to the team next season. To get a better idea of what he brings to the table, we asked Motown String Music some questions about their former coach so we know what to look for next season.
1. Let's start off with the basics, what would you say Flip's greatest strengths and weaknesses are as a coach?
From what I know when he was on the Pistons, I'd say his greatest strength was putting out an offensive scheme that put up points. I remember when we first got him, I was excited because I thought we'd average over 100 points per game with his style. However, with that comes a downgrade on the defensive side. I didn't see a major drop off but I did notice there was one. His greatest weakness, and this may have to do with the Pistons particular group of players, but I think he had communication issues with his players. One of the reasons he was canned, in addition to not getting over that ECF hump, was he didn't have the respect of some of his players.
2. In your opinion, what led to Flip's downfall in Detroit and do you think his firing was justified?
As I just said, he didn't have players respect. I don't know what to attribute it to (upset they lost Brown, or changing the scheme up), but it was clear some of the players weren't keen on him. I think the firing was justified because there's no point in having a guy that some of your players don't respect here if you're also going to be doing some renovating with the player personnel. I think the Billups trade signaled the end of this core of players and what better way to start somewhat of a rebuilding process with a new coach that the GM and players respect a lot.
3. Flip is well known for his offensive coaching ability. In what aspects of the offense did Flip improve the team the most?
What offenses do: scoring. There were games I thought the Pistons were going to win 130-120 and others they played it old school and would win 80-70. That never really happened under Larry Brown. It was always those 80-70 games with a sprinkle of scoring. Flip brought a whole dosage of it and it showed.
4. Detroit's defensive rankings were always strong under Flip Saunders, but they were also quite good when Larry Brown and Rick Carlisle were in charge. Did Flip do anything to put his own stamp on the defense or do you think he was just riding the coattails of his predecessors?
I think he was just riding the coattails. The defense has slowly faltered over the years and it started with the departures of Larry Brown and Ben Wallace. Flip seems to be an offense first kind of coach.
Many thanks to Motown String Music for their insight into Flip's tenure in Detroit. If you're looking for more insight into the Pistons, or if you're just interested in Cleveland's opponent right now, check it out.