Detroit — The Motor City Cruise, the Pistons’ G League affiliate, named Jamelle McMillan as the franchise’s new head coach, the team announced Monday.
McMillan — the son of longtime NBA coach Nate McMillan — is the second coach in franchise history and will succeed D.J. Bakker, who accepted a job in Milwaukee on the coaching staff of new Bucks coach Adrian Griffin.
“I’m really excited to be part of this process,” McMillan told reporters in a virtual press conference. “Coming to a historic franchise like Detroit — just growing up in the league with my background and my father playing against those old-school Pistons teams — this is a special place.
“It’s one of the organizations that our league really needs and really values, and just being here is a tremendous opportunity for me and my career as well as just being fortunate to be a part of something pretty cool here as we try to restore everything around the culture and the organization.”
The younger McMillan, 34, spent the last three seasons with the Atlanta Hawks on his father’s coaching staff. He brings 11 years of experience as an NBA assistant to Detroit after previously serving as an assistant coach with the Phoenix Suns and New Orleans Pelicans. He also served as director of basketball operations at Drake University from 2011-12.
McMillan was a developmental coach in New Orleans under new Pistons coach Monty Williams in 2012 and served in various assistant coaching roles until 2016. In that position, he also served as an assistant and helped with player and opponent scouting.
“(Williams) is actually the reason I’m in the league, to be honest with you,” McMillan said. “I was able to work with him for the first four years of my career and really get started under his program and leadership, that’s translated to tremendous opportunities for me going through my career. I got the call again from the same guy, who is really family to me.”
Prior to his coaching career, McMillan played four seasons at Arizona State, where he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in communication.
“I am thrilled to have Jamelle as the next head coach of the Motor City Cruise,” said Motor City Cruise general manager Ben Carloni. “He has the personality, experience, and passion for the game that will further develop ourplayers and staff members on and off the court.”
McMillan also served on the Pistons’ coaching staff earlier this month during the Las Vegas Summer League under new assistant coach Jarrett Jack.
The Cruise will enter its third season this fall with moderate expectations after winning 22 games while reaching the G League playoffs in its inaugural season in 2021-22. Last year, the team finished 17-15 and missed the playoffs but made a late-season surge — winning 12 of its final 16 games.
The Cruise will hold open local tryouts at the Pistons’ Midtown practice facility on Sept. 14 from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Players who participate will have an opportunity to compete for an invitation to the Cruise’s training camp, which begins in October.