Maurice Cheeks and Joe Dumars say "hey!" to Detroit (Getty Images)
Coaching introductions don’t come much more inauspicious than this. The Detroit Pistons have been flailing as a franchise since dealing away Chauncey Billups in 2008, and general manager Joe Dumars has been through five head coaches since that year. As a response to five straight dreary and ultimately losing seasons, and with his job possibly in danger under new’ish owner Tom Gores, Dumars had to make a splash with someone that could be his final coaching hire.
He decided to go with former Trail Blazers and 76ers coach Maurice Cheeks. First, the internet yawned. Then it set to digging in to research, and it didn’t like what it found.
Cheeks was second in command at Oklahoma City, working for a team that made the Finals last year while appearing well on its way toward defending its Western Conference crown this year before an injury to Russell Westbrook got in the way. This sort of status usually serves to align for a successful hiring, what with types like Tom Thibodeau doing so well after working next to Doc Rivers in Boston, and San Antonio’s Mike Budenholzer recently taking to Atlanta in what was a well-regarded hire.
The Thunder coaching staff has earned its fair share of criticism over the years, though, and while nobody will be able to tell just how much influence Cheeks had over those decisions gone awry (to say nothing of the ones that went well), at least he has his coaching past to lean on.
That might not be a good thing.
Read More »from The NBA Coaching Carousel, Vol. 4: Maurice Cheeks teams up with Joe Dumars in Detroit