After a year away from the game, former Atlanta Hawks coach Mike Woodson is in the running to return to Detroit as the Pistons head coach now that John Kuester has been fired. Woodson was a former Pistons assistant under Larry Brown. Woodson was rumored earlier this season as a candidate to replace Brown when he left Charlotte but that job eventually went to Paul Silas.
Interesting enough that Woodson's top competition for the job may come from Dallas Mavericks assistant Dwane Casey. For those of you that don't remember, Casey was a finalist to replace Woodson in Atlanta before Larry Drew emerged with the job. Casey returned to the Mavericks and helped Dallas to a championship. Casey was credited as the Mavericks' defensive coach which included arguably the league's best zone defense.
When Woodson arrived in Atlanta, he was supposed to bring a defensive attitude and mind set to the Hawks. He never quite accomplished that as his Hawks clubs were in the middle of the pack defensively during most of his tenure. Woodson looked to mask a lot of Atlanta's perimeter defensive issues by switching nearly every screen and hoping that his athletic squad could survive the defensive mismatches. Larry Drew took a little different approach to the Hawks as they played more straight up in their defensive assignments and concentrated more on the offensive end of the floor where the team had become stagnant under Woodson.
What would Casey have brought to the table? If he goes on to success at another stop then Atlanta fans may wonder that out loud for a long time. It was at this point last season that Casey looked to be the front runner for the Hawks job. He had ties to Rick Sund having served as an assistant coach in Seattle during Sund's tenure there. However, Drew impressed ownership with his offensive ideas and ultimately won the job.
We probably won't know for sometime if Atlanta made the correct choice. They regressed in the regular season but were more competitive in the playoffs this season under Drew.