As a first-year head coach, Michael Curry will lean heavily on his assistants. Flip Saunders preferred to have more control over practices and game-planning. His assistants usually had specific assignments - Dave Cowens would work with the big men, Terry Porter worked with the guards, Curry ran the pregame practices, etc.
Curry will have his assistants run various segments in practices and move from station to station. That will get his assistants involved with each player, not just a handful.
"Each coach will have an opportunity to coach both offense and defense every day," Curry said. "Doing it that way, they won't get tired of hearing me so quickly."
Another interesting way in which Curry will utilize his assistants is that each will be assigned a certain number of opposing teams; they are expected to keep updated reports on each of those clubs. When the Pistons play a particular team, the assistant assigned to that opponent will be relied upon heavily for a scouting report and strategy. For example, two of the teams that Pat Sullivan will keep tabs on are Charlotte, where old boss Larry Brown now coaches, and New Jersey, where Sullivan was an assistant in recent years.
"What we hope is that you become an expert on your team," Curry said. "Hopefully, we can be ahead of everybody when it comes to game preparation."
If Curry were to get ejected, the assistant with the most knowledge of a certain opponent would run the bench. In other words, he won't have a de facto lead assistant.
By delegating more responsibility, Curry takes some of the pressure off of his shoulders. He can be more of an overseer, rather than shouldering most of the burden.
We'll see how it works out but it's clear that if anything goes wrong this season, it won't be for lack of planning.