Pistons jumble up coaching staff, former Drive coach Otis Smith steps into assistant role

The Detroit Pistons announced a restructuring of their coaching staff on Wednesday, focusing on multiple promotions within the assistant ranks as well as the reclassification of one member of the organization whose roots date back to the Bad Boys era.

Otis Smith, who spent the past two seasons as head coach of the Grand Rapids Drive (Detroit’s D-League affiliate), will join the Pistons’ staff as both an assistant coach and director of player development. Pat Garrity, meanwhile, has been promoted to assistant general manager. In addition, Andrew Loomis has been promoted to chief of staff and Bob Beyer to associate head coach. Former assistant coach Quentin Richardson is leaving the team to spend more time with his family in Florida.

Brendan Malone, who initially got his start in Detroit as a member of Chuck Daly’s coaching staff in 1988 then began a second term with the club in 2014 as an assistant on Stan Van Gundy’s staff, will transition to a special assignment scout from his home state of New York.

The transition should be a smooth one for Smith, who spent six years as general manager of the Orlando Magic, working alongside Van Gundy during most of his tenure before both transitioned to Michigan in 2014.

“I think we’ve got great continuity still, which is good,” Van Gundy said. “Not only did we have Otis in Grand Rapids but I think there’s two other things. One, he’s been here for training camp for both years, on the floor, part of the staff. He was in the playoffs this year, traveled with us. And then the second thing is, he and I have been together for a long time. So it’s a pretty easy transition in that regard.”

Echoing the feedback of Pistons owner Tom Gores, Van Gundy was also quick to evoke praise, both for newest associate head coach Bob Beyer and general manager Jeff Bower, who signed a one-year contract extension with the Pistons earlier in the week.

“Both of those guys have carried heavy leadership roles here with me trying to do both jobs,” Van Gundy said. “So they deserve a different level of recognition. And that’s something that wasn’t just coming from me. I think Tom recognized that also. Tom’s always been supportive of me but also of those guys and he understands the role that Jeff has played and the role that Bob has played and he understands that they’re deserving of bigger roles and recognition.”