Detroit Pistons: Moving forward without Mo Cheeks

Detroit Pistons

Josh Smith with former coach Mo Cheeks (Photo Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports)

For the Detroit Pistons, the weekend in Motown ended just as shocking (for some) as it had begun. On the heels of back-to-back victories over the Brooklyn Nets and Denver Nuggets, both playoff teams at the moment, the Pistons announced on Sunday that Mo Cheeks will no longer be team’s head coach.

Whether it was the timing or the decision itself, many were left with a puzzling feeling on Sunday afternoon. Brandon Jennings and Charlie Villanueva took their disbelief to Twitter and (especially Jennings) showed their support and gratitude for Cheeks.

It has been rumored that there is mutual interest between the Pistons and former Memphis Grizzlies coach Lionel Hollins, possibly even interest in bringing him in mid-season. As much as that might interest some, that position now belongs to John Loyer on an interim basis.

Bringing in a new head coach may create more problems than it will solve. With the likelihood that Joe Dumars will not return next season, it would be beneficial for the next general manager to hand-pick Detroit’s next head coach. Owner Tom Gores is currently experiencing the consequences of continually trying to find the “quick-fix” when there isn’t one.┬áNow, as a result, there are as many questions concerning the future of Detroit as there are empty seats at The Palace for Pistons home games.

As for the current state of the Pistons, their play has been at a higher level lately and they have won four of their past six games. In Detroit’s last two victories (Friday vs. Nets and Saturday vs. Nuggets) the trio of Jennings, Andre Drummond and Josh Smith, recorded five double-doubles.

Drummond has continued to give opponents nightmares as he followed his unbelievable Friday-night performance (16 points, 22 rebounds) with 18 points and 15 rebounds on Saturday. Smith flirted with a triple-double in both games, combining for 53 points, 18 rebounds, and 15 assists. Jennings, averaging 25.1 over his last nine games, scored a total of 61 points with 21 assists over the weekend.

With that being said, the Pistons have experienced some stretches of success this season. Unfortunately, those stretches don’t occur as much or last as long, as the periods of underachievement. Some are ready to chalk up the season as a loss, others see a postseason berth as the next step in rebuilding the franchise to a level that it once was.

The best option for the Pistons right now is to try to get something in return for those who have expiring contracts (Greg Monroe, Rodney Stuckey, and Charlie V) and let the rest of the team try to outscore each and every opponent left on the schedule. (I’m sure that Jennings and Smith won’t oppose to taking 25-30 shots a game.) Detroit’s roster is full of talent, it might be time to let them go out and just play basketball the way they know best; fast-paced and let the shots fly. Trying to turn this team into something other than that will just continue to add frustration.

There is no denying that the Pistons are an exciting team to watch and that they can compete with any team on any given night. Even so, the team is too dysfunctional at this point to fix it; a problem that lies much deeper than who is coaching on the sideline.

Detroit (21-29) is currently a half-game behind the Charlotte Bobcats for the East’s final playoff spot. John Loyer will make his head coaching debut on Monday night against the San Antonio Spurs, as the Pistons are at home for their final two games prior to the All-Star break. Detroit will then face the Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday night.

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