Jeff Bower Rumors
Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy is looking for a few big men who can shoot. That’s why he and general manager Jeff Bowers are in Spain looking at Mario Hezonja (6-foot-8) and Kristaps Porzingis (7-1). Both have the ability to shoot from the outside. The downside is both are immature and lack NBA bodies to survive an 82-game season. But the Pistons are looking for a boost to their 3-point shooting, which ranked 17th in percentage (34.4). Van Gundy said he wanted the team to shoot at least 36 percent.
Bower was pleased with the way the Drive’s on-court operation mirrored that of Stan Van Gundy’s with the Pistons. “I thought that was a strength going into the year, and it’s a strength as we wrap up,” he said. “Our comfort level with knowing what, for example, Quincy Miller would find when he got here (Grand Rapids) was very high.”
“We knew that, in a group of guys who were free agents, John was a guy we wanted,” Van Gundy said. “Again, (general manager Jeff Bower) was looking at some trade possibilities … a couple of them could have materialized, but it would have meant us taking on money for next year, which we weren’t willing to do. And trades for guys at the end of their contracts didn’t materialize.”
In studying how NBA teams were put together, Van Gundy kept coming back to the fact that for most teams, more than half of players were drafted by another team. “There tends to be an opinion that we just know the NBA players and I don’t think we really watch them as closely as we need to and those are huge decisions,” he said. “You don’t want to make a mistake in the draft, but the way it’s set up now, if you make a mistake in the draft at least it’s low cost. If you’re going to go out and spend $14 million a year, $15 million a year on a guy and you make a mistake, now you’re really hurting. So I just want to weight it a little bit more.”
The Pistons beefed-up front office includes four full-time NBA scouts. They’re spread out across the country and Van Gundy estimates that they scout – not just watch, but study and file reports on – 85 to 90 percent of all NBA games. General manager Jeff Bower says that by mid-December, those scouts had filed 6,000 scouting reports. “I get a call on a player, I can go right to his report card and see my weekly grades from the scouting staff,” Bower said. “Week by week, you can read the narrative and pull it all together to see if he’s going up, if he’s going down, why he’s been out, why all of a sudden his minutes have increased. But you don’t have information like that if you’re not following it every day and every game and every week. That’s where the day-to-day compounding of information comes in really having value.”
Yes, he openly can discuss trades with other teams’ personnel bosses, and consults daily with Pistons president of basketball operations and head coach Stan Van Gundy about ways to improve the roster, including trades. “That question is asked a lot,” Bower said, referring to his trade empowerment. “But no matter what the structure is, the G.M. isn’t going to make a trade without his head coach, his understanding of it, his involvement, his buy-in with it, because it won’t work without that. In this case, we all have ideas about things. I’ll have ideas that I’ll take to Stan; Stan will give ideas to me, and scenarios that he’d like to look into. It’s a constant exchange, back and forth.”
Butler took 4.4 3-point shots in 25 minutes a game last season and made 39.4 percent of them, joining Augustin and shooting guards Jodie Meeks and Cartier Martin as free-agent signees who figure to transform the Pistons’ 3-point shooting threat from meek to potent. “He has a competitive nature to him that drives him at this point,” Pistons general manager Jeff Bower said. “He’s been on good teams. He’s seen and experienced what they’re all about. He sees this as an opportunity to compete, to play a role of significance within a team that has the potential to grow and to create change.”
Bower, 53, adds another element. He was a coach last season at Marist before named in early June the Pistons GM. A former assistant general manager with the New Orleans Hornets, Bower said he has known Smith for years, through his association with Van Gundy, and did not consider his hiring a threat. “When Stan talked to me, I thought he was the perfect guy because he embodies everything that the developmental league is all about,” Bower said. “He’s great for this. It (the NBA-D League) is about getting the best out of guys.”
Smith was named coach of the Drive last week in what was a Detroit-Grand Rapids game of match the personnel with the title. Smith, formerly the general manager of the Magic, will take on his first professional coaching job, and it will be under Van Gundy, who was a coach and under Smith in Orlando before he was named the president and head coach of the Pistons in May. Adding to the twist, Smith also interviewed to be general manager of the Pistons, a position Van Gundy eventually gave to another long-time associate Jeff Bower. That makes an interesting mix of 50-somethings. But not strange bedfellows, the three said. “I think Otis’ interest in being the (Pistons) GM was more because of me and how he could help me,” Van Gundy said. “He was much more enthusiastic about this opportunity than he would have been to be the GM. People look at that and say, you’re crazy. But I think this is more of Otis’ passion. It’s always been working and developing players for him and that fits perfectly with what we want to do (in Grand Rapids).”
“I’m excited to join the Pistons organization and play a role in helping this franchise build on its great basketball tradition,” said Bower. “I look forward to working with Stan, his staff and everyone in the Pistons organization to put together a team that the community can support and be proud of. I’m also excited about ownership’s commitment to winning and their demonstrated commitment to the community.”
“I’m pleased to welcome Jeff Bower to the Detroit Pistons organization. Jeff brings great basketball knowledge and NBA experience to our organization and he’s enjoyed success in building teams. He’s a great evaluator of talent and Jeff will bring solid leadership to our front office,” said Van Gundy.
Detroit Pistons Head Coach and President of Basketball Operations Stan Van Gundy announced today that the team has named Jeff Bower as general manager. Per team policy, terms of the contract were not disclosed.
Vincent Ellis: Source says contracts aren’t signed between #Pistons and Bower. Said still “working on it.”
Detroit Pistons president and coach Stan Van Gundy is making his first major front office hiring, finalizing an agreement with Jeff Bower to become general manager, league sources told Yahoo Sports.
The 76ers have narrowed the search and appear to be leaning toward promoting assistant GM Tony DiLeo to the GM job, league sources said. The 76ers had considered former New Orleans Hornets GM Jeff Bower, but as the Philadelphia Inquirer recently reported, DiLeo has emerged as the favorite to take over for Thorn.
Meanwhile, according to a league source with knowledge of the situation, one of the three candidates mentioned for the job – Boston assistant general manager Mike Zarren – has withdrawn his candidacy. The Sixers have also interviewed ESPN analyst and ex-Portland Trail Blazers assistant general manager Tom Penn, whom they have cooled on, according to a source, and former New Orleans general manager Jeff Bower.
John Mitchell: Sixer brass to interview Boston’s Mike Zarren (1st interview) & Jeff Bower (2nd int.) for GM job in 1st part of week – league source.
Bower – who still lives in the New Orleans suburb of Belle Chasse with his wife, Lisa, and their daughter Lindsey, 9 – was in the running for NBA general manager positions with the Orlando Magic and Portland Trail Blazers earlier this summer. “I’ve talked with a number of different people about a variety of different [jobs] the last couple of years,” said Bower, who has been relishing the time off for the last couple of years to enjoy quality time with his family. “When the right fit presents itself, I’ll do something. I’m grateful to have worked 15 years in a variety of different positions with an NBA franchise, and I’m excited about exploring new opportunities.”
Ken Berger: Former Hornets exec Jeff Bower is expected to meet with Sixers officials this week to discuss the team’s GM opening, league sources say.
John R. Finger: Hornets former GM, Jeff Bower, is also being considered for the Sixers’ GM job. Tom Penn is the frontrunner, though.