It has been roughly about a month and a half since the Detroit Pistons parted ways with Lawrence Frank. In his two year stay with the Pistons, Frank led the team to a disappointing 54-94 record. This past season, Frank went 4-30 against western conference teams and began the season with an 0-8 start. Clearly firing Frank was the right move on behalf of the Pistons organization. The next step to the rebuilding process is finding a new coach to lead the team out of its current turmoil.
For those who have read my previous article would understand a lot has change since last week. Last week I talked about Shaw being a serious candidate for the Detroit Pistons and while Phil Jackson was advising it only made sense for the two parties to pair up. Lets take a closer look at what has changed with the Detroit Pistons since:
Since the firing of Lawrence Frank, many coaches have been called in for an interview, some of whom were considered serious and some who were considered to receive courtesy interviews from Dumars and company. One name that lingered around since April is; Nate McMillan. McMillan went 478-452 in his 12 seasons as a head coach with the Seattle Supersonics and the Portland Trailblazers. McMillan was considered to be the leading candidate until recently.
Maurice Cheeks, the former lead assistant of the Oklahoma City Thunder emerged out of nowhere and has gained popularity in the eyes of the Pistons organization. Cheeks is now considered to be the clear front-runner to take on the Pistons job and a deal could strike any day now. Recent speculation suggests the Pistons were working on terms with Cheeks yesterday night. He has not officially signed yet, but it’s safe to assume he is going to be the next Pistons head coach.
Cheeks is not a household name, and he is not the coach fans were hoping the Pistons would hire. His critics would argue that he only had two winning seasons out of eight as a head coach. His previous stints with the Philadelphia 76ers and Portland Trailblazers as a head coach totaled to a below .500 record at 284-286. In addition, the Thunder are considered to be a poorly coached team, and as a lead assistant, many have to wonder how much of this responsibility falls on Cheeks’ shoulder.
Why does this potential hire make sense for Detroit, despite being considered a mediocre coach at best? We all know Cheeks won a championship as a starting point guard for the Philadelphia 76ers in 1983. He made multiple All-Star appearances and was considered to be one of the best defensive point guards to ever play this game. In addition, Cheeks has been coaching excellent guards in his career as a coach. Under Larry Brown in Philadelphia, Cheeks got the privilege to witness Allen Iverson mature and better himself as a point guard. In addition, most recently, Cheeks was linked as the main reason the volatile point guard; Russell Westbrook has improved over the past few seasons according to Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated. One can only assume that this hiring could be in the best interest in Brandon Knight. Cheeks might be the perfect coach to help Knight solidify himself as a point guard since the Pistons have no plans to resign Jose Calderon.
This may not be the sexiest hire for the Pistons but it seems to make sense. We were all hoping the Pistons would hire an elite coach, but that’s not realistic considering the current state of the organization. On the bright side, the Pistons can only improve, coming off horrible performances from the last three head coaches. At this point, contending for a playoff spot next year should be our goal and should be a realistic expectation. Hopefully Cheeks is that guy, or else he will continue to prove to everyone in the NBA that he is just another coach trying to tread water.
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