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John Beilein’s Second Chance in the NBA

Late Tuesday night, Marc Stein of the New York Times reported that the Detroit Pistons are hiring John Beilein as the Senior Advisor for Player. Before joining the Pistons, Beilein coached at the collegiate and NBA level. Beilein was a more successful coach at the collegiate level compared to the NBA level. Here is some information on Beilein before taking the Pistons job and what Beilein brings to the team. 

Beilein’s Early Coaching Career

Photo Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Before taking his new role as Senior Advisor for the Pistons, Beilein coached basketball for 45 straight years. Beilein started head coaching for Newfane High School in Newfane, New York. After coaching high school student-athletes for three seasons, Beilein worked his way up in the college coaching ladder. He started off coaching SUNY Erie Community College in New York State and then coached at Nazareth (Division III) and Le Moyne (Division II).  

Beilein would earn his first Division I coaching job at Canisius College. He would then took Canisius to a tournament appearance in his second to the final season. After his time at Canisius, Beilein would take coaching jobs at Richmond and West Virginia. Beilein would make a significant step in his career and took the Michigan head coaching job in 2007. 

Coaching Experience at Michigan and NBA

Photo Credit: Junfu Han- USA Today Sports

At Michigan, Beliein made a major impact on the program. Beilein took a dying program and turned the program back into one of the most elite programs in college basketball. In his second season took them to their first NCAA tournament appearance since 1998. In 2012, the Wolverines took home their first Big Ten regular-season championship. 

Beliein would build off there and took the Wolverines to the Final Four and National Championship appearance in 2013. The Wolverines in 2013 had a powerhouse team with Trey Burke and Tim Haradway Jr. Then in 2014, Beilein won Big Ten coach of the year and won the Big Ten regular season. 

A couple of years later, Beliein won two Big Ten tournament championships in 2017 and 2018. Belien would take the Wolverines to one more Final Four and National Championship appearance in 2018. He developed multiple NBA players, including Duncan Robinson, Jordan Poole, and Caris LeVert. Finally, in 2019, Beliein announced he would leave Michigan to take the job as head coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers. 

Beilein’s time with Cleveland was short and unsuccessful. He did not have a good transition from coaching college to the NBA. In Cleveland, Beilein was coaching his players like they were still in college instead of coaching them like professionals. In his first season, he would resign as coach after 54 games and a record of 14- 40. 

What Beilein Brings to the Pistons? 

Photo Credit: Kirthmon F. Dozier- USA Today Sports

John Beliein’s position as the role in player development is an intriguing decision for the organization. Especially with the players having one of the youngest rosters in the league, including having players Isaiah Stewart, Saddiq Bey, and Jerami Grant. He has incredible knowledge of developing players at the collegiate level. The main question to answer is, “can Beliein develop players at the NBA level?” 

He had a rough time as the coach in Cleveland. The main worry is going to be on Beilein if he will treat the players development as if their college, and not in the NBA. Or will Beilein learn from his mistakes with Cleveland and develop these players into elite players.

This question will not be answered right away in year one but will be answered later in these players’ careers. His new role in Detroit is going to be a question on if he could develop players. But can Beilein develop the players into star NBA players?

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