Cheeks the answer to Pistons’ problems?
Let’s hope they got it right this time, but don’t hold your breath.
Last week, the Detroit Pistons named Maurice Cheeks their new coach, replacing Lawrence Frank.
Cheeks is the team’s fourth coach in six years and ninth since the 1999-2000 season. That’s a lot of turnover in a key position on an NBA team.
Cheeks, a four-time NBA?All-Star over 15 standout seasons, comes to the Pistons after serving the last four seasons as an assistant coach of the Oklahoma City Thunder.
The new coach’s “basketball knowledge – and communications and leadership skills” – were major factors in his being hired, Pistons owner Tom Gores said.
Cheeks signed a three-year deal, with an option for a fourth.
Memo to the new coach: Don’t unpack your bags. You might not stay with the Pistons long.
If the team doesn’t produce this coming season, Pistons president of basketball operations Joe Dumars will no doubt be let go. He’s on a short lease with Gores since the team hasn’t made the playoffs the last four seasons.
If Dumars goes, you can rest assured his replacement will want his own coaching staff, not one he inherited.
So Cheeks – despite his multiyear contract – will be on the hot seat to produce right away.
At least he has some talent to work with. The Pistons are building around “bigs” Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond, as well as point guard Brandon Knight.
The team has a reported $20 million to spend on free agents this summer and the Pistons – barring a trade – will have the No. 8 pick in the NBA draft June 27.
The cupboard isn’t bare. It just needs to be restocked with a couple of essentials, particularly a shooting guard and/or a small forward.
The team has suffered some player unrest the last three or four seasons, something Cheeks may have to address as soon as he officially takes control.
He might not be a “sexy” pick like George Karl, Lionel Hollins or Brian Shaw would have been for the position, but the Pistons are betting he’s the right man for the job.
All Cheeks has to do this coming season is win enough games to put the team into the playoffs.
If he does that, he might stick around for a while.
Craig Remsburg can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 251. His email address is cremsburg@ miningjournal.net.