Pistons were a better team when Brown left. They kept their defense but improved their offense under Flip Saunders...Pat Riley won a championship in his first year as head coach,won 4 championships in his first 7 years in the NBA, has taken 3 different NBA teams to the finals,has 5 NBA rings and would have 6 right now if not for his one mistake in the 1994 finals, which was the refusal of benching John Starks in game 7.I am going to cut D'antoni a little slack on comparing him to Riley because those Laker teams that Riley coached were no where in the same league as D'antoni's Phoenix Suns.
It only took Coach Popovich 3 seasons to win an NBA championship.Something that Coach Bob Hill wasn't able to previously do with David Robinson and a good Spurs team.
Mike D'antoni had Amare,Shaq,Nash,Joe Johnson and Marion, and still couldn't make one finals appearance.
During Larry Brown's first NBA year he won 50 games with the Denver Nuggets in a very tough league at the time.Mike D'antoni led the Suns to 50+ win seasons in a much easier league, in which there were fewer great defensive teams, fewer hall of fame type players and the weakest eastern conference of all time.If the Pistons were such a great team without Larry Brown, why couldn't Coach Saunders win a title with the same group of players? Where have the Pistons been since the departure of Larry brown?They have been disintergrating year after year.
All it takes is an NBA team with at least 2 all-stars and a mediocre coach to win 50 games and make a couple of conference finals appearances in today's league.You make Mike D'antoni an NBA coach in any previous decade and he wouldn't survive for one full season.
So you have to be at least age 40 or above to know whether Mike D'antoni is a great coach or not? Geez that's a new one!