Rex Walters has joined the Detroit Pistons as an assistant coach and will work on Stan Van Gundy’s staff next season.
Walters, 47, served as the Grand Rapids Drive head coach last season, guiding the Pistons’ NBA Development League (now known as the NBA G League) team to a 26-24 record. He joins a Pistons coaching staff that includes Tim Hardaway and Otis Smith.
Before his lone season with Grand Rapids, Walters led the University of San Francisco men’s squad for eight seasons (2008-16) and served as the Florida Atlantic University bench boss from 2006-08.
“Rex brings great knowledge and experience and does a great job of developing young players,” Van Gundy said in a statement. “We were very happy with the way he worked with our young Pistons players last season when they were on assignment in Grand Rapids.”
A first-round draft pick of the New Jersey Nets in 1993, Walters, a Japanese-American from San Jose, suited up for the Nets, Philadelphia 76ers and Miami Heat during his NBA career.
Now, he embraces his new challenge with the Pistons.
“I’m excited about it,” Walters, a University of Kansas alum, told the Kansas City Star. “I really enjoyed the D-League, (but) obviously when Stan presented this as an option, I jumped at it. . .”
In an interview with The Japan Times, Walters elaborated on his outlook for the 2017-18 campaign.
What’s your main goal for 2017-18 in this new position? Walters was asked.
“Help our players develop as basketball players and help them understand what our coaching staff wants on the court on game night,” Walters told The Japan Times in an email.
He was also asked this: Were there talks for several weeks about this as a possible promotion?
“No real talks,” Walters said. “He (Van Gundy) asked about a month ago about the G League and last season. Then discussed either joining the staff or staying in Grand Rapids.”