In this economy, two consecutive wins doesn’t get you what it used to. Despite a rosy weekend with two wins over the Nuggets and the resurrected Nets, Detroit management had enough of coach Maurice Cheeks and let him go early Sunday.
Changes were expected as the 21-29 Detroit Pistons have greatly underperformed despite having some talent in their quarters. Last summer’s free agency brought over two of its biggest names in Brandon Jennings and Josh Smith, after all. But consensus had Mike Brown or Mike Woodson getting the axe first. Being just a game out of playoff contention in the Eastern Conference, and with a nice time to regroup in the All-Star weekend just around the corner, Detroit brass saw it fit to draw the first blood.
According to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports, “owner Tom Gores had become increasingly impatient with Cheeks…” and pushed for change. As the money guy, he got it. As of yet, no interim or replacement coach has been named but people expect assistant John Loyer to take over the wheel.
Cheeks deserved to get canned for questionable schemes and decisions but was also the victim of bad management. XN Sports predicted the mess in Detroit before this team even took to the floor. Joe Dumars had no business nabbing too questionable shooters and reputable locker room drains during a time of rebuilding especially Josh Smith whose game just doesn’t complement the young tandem of Andre Drummond and Greg Monroe well. As a result, Dumars is surely the next one on the chopping block.
With a new coach the Pistons certainly have the talent to turn things even with their many flaws. But long-term this just isn’t a team that Cheeks could have done much with even if his own talents were superior. Be well, Cheeks.