Pistons Close To Naming Cheeks Coach?
When Phil Jackson was brought aboard to serve as an adviser it seemed all but a lock that Jackson’s former assistant Brian Shaw would be the lead candidate. Rumors swirled that Nate McMillan was the top candidate on Joe Dumars’ list. Now Twitter is a-buzz that the Pistons are set to offer former Portland and Philly Head Coach Maurice Cheeks the job.
Cheeks is currently an assistant coach with the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Cheeks played in the NBA from 1978-1993 (primarily with Philadelphia), won the NBA title as a player with the 76er’s in 1983. Known as a defensive specialist, Cheeks was a four-time NBA All Star, four-time NBA All Defensive First team, and All Defensive Second team.
From 1994-2001 he was an assistant coach with Philadelphia, got his first head coaching job with Portland from 2001-2005, returned in Philly in 2005 to become the head coach of the 76er’s. Cheeks was let got in 2008, in 2009 he joined the Thunder’s coaching staff and was a member of the coaching staff that lost to the Heat in 2012 NBA Finals.
Cheeks has coached 571 NBA games from 2001-09, his overall record is 284-286. His career high in the wins department in 50 in 2002-03 while with Portland. He has led three teams to the playoffs, twice in Portland and once in Philadelphia never making out of the first round.
When I wrote about the Pistons coaching search initially, I mentioned that the Pistons could not roll the dice on another first time coach and needed someone who would have instant credibility. Cheeks as a former NBA player and seasoned head coach brings both. He is a defensive minded coach who is going to demand players to work hard on both ends of the court, something that has been the calling card of successful Pistons teams in the past. He also has been around winning cultures in the league both as a player and coach, he knows what it takes to get it done in league something Pistons coaches in recent memory have lacked.
Only time will tell if Cheeks will have what it takes to turn the Pistons around if indeed he will be offered the coaching position by Joe Dumars. One thing is for sure he could be the last coaching hire in the Joe Dumars era and for the Pistons sake as well as Joe’s he better be the right fit.
At least we won’t have to worry about the National Anthem going awry.