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What if Monty Williams Doesn't Survive His First Season in Detroit?

Publish Date:11/29/2023
Fact checked by: Allan Howe
Key Points
  • Detroit Pistons has lost 14 consecutive games in the 2023-2024 season as of November 29th 2023
  • Monty Williams is one of the top 5 best-paid coaches in any professional sport in North America in 2023
  • Will Pistons multi-billionaire owner Tom Gores keep Monty Williams or fire him?

Remember that time the Detroit Pistons won a game? You can be forgiven for not remembering: it happened more than a month ago. The last time the Pistons hung a “W” up on their season scorecard was way back on Oct. 28, in Detroit against the Chicago Bulls.

It’s been 14 straight losses since for the Pistons, a dismal stretch that matches the worst losing skid in franchise history. Twice before Detroit has lost 14 consecutive games, in the dreadful 2021-22 season, and in 1993 when the Bad Boys era was disintegrating.monty williams pistons

17 Games in with 14 losses for Williams & Pistons

How many more losses can the team take before it irreparably damages the psyche of a young team? Head coach Monty Williams is only 17 games into his tenure as the leader of this team. Even his stoic, steady leadership, on display early in this season, is being tested. Some NBA sportsbooks are even providing bets on him not surviving the full season. After the team’s recent loss to the woeful Washington Wizards, Williams decried the effort he saw on the court.

“That wasn’t Pistons basketball by any stretch of the imagination,” Williams told reporters following the 126-107 loss to the 3-14 Wizards. “That’s what this is: we have to have people that honor the organization and the jersey by competing at a high level every night. I’m not talking about execution, just competing. That wasn’t it, and that’s on me.”

Williams can take responsibility for the piss-poor effort of his team. He can shoulder the burden, and he can lay into his roster, which apparently he has behind locker room doors. But, how much losing can he have on his ledger before his seat gets blisteringly warm?

Monty Williams signing is one of the most expensive sports coach signings in history

The Pistons signed Williams to the most expensive contract for a coach in the sport of basketball in June. The team stunned the sports world when they gave Williams a six-year contract worth $78.5 million, with options and incentives that could push that figure to $100 million over eight years. That vaulted Williams ahead of the insufferable Gregg Popovich as the highest-paid in the NBA. It also makes Williams, who was named NBA coach of the year for the 2021-22 season, one of the five best-paid coaches in any professional sport in North America.

But how long can the Pistons be a laughingstock before ownership needs to do something to shake things up? It seems unlikely that Tom Gores, the multi-billionaire who has control of the team, will discard his coach while still owing him tens of millions. But, Gores made his cash as an investment broker: how many bad deals has Gores kept himself in when they went awry?

If the Pistons' losing streak reaches epic proportions (the single-season mark for futility is 26 straight L’s by the 2010-11 Cavs and 2013-14 Sixers), the team will become subject of punchlines on late night television (which no one watches anymore), and social media (which too many people do). Even the last couple of weeks of NBA betting tips are shifting negatively towards the Pistons.  That type of negative publicity will sting the Pistons, but Detroit sports teams are sadly accustomed to such indignity.

Will Pistons Fire Williams?

In his last position, as HC of the Phoenix Suns, Williams melded a team of veterans and young emerging contributors into the Western Conference Champions. He was applauded for his innovative techniques and strategies. At 51, he represents a new generation of coaches in the NBA, replacing the likes of the old school “Pop” in San Antonio, who pushes his own personality into the forefront. Williams prefers the X’s and the O’s. He is much more comfortable with a whistle and a clipboard than a microphone.

The Pistons won’t fire Williams like he’s just a disposable captain of a sinking ship. He’s too talented, too well regarded, and Gores owes him oodles of money. No, Monty is in this raw deal and he’ll have to worm his way out of it. The bow and the stern may be splitting apart for the Pistons right now, but Williams is going to be asked to go down with the ship.

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