Pistons have new coach again, and Maurice Cheeks looks to guide young club back to prominence

  • Article by: NOAH TRISTER , AP Sports Writer
  • Updated: June 13, 2013 - 2:55 PM

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. — Maurice Cheeks is ready for a new challenge, undaunted by the fact that the Detroit Pistons have been a revolving door for coaches lately.

Cheeks is the franchise's fourth coach in six seasons, so is he concerned about a job where so many others have failed?

"If we thought like that, nobody would be coaching," Cheeks said.

Cheeks was introduced Thursday, nearly two months after Lawrence Frank was fired. The coaching search took a while because the Pistons need this decision to work out. Detroit went 54-94 in two seasons under Frank amid sagging attendance. The previous two seasons under John Kuester weren't any better.

The Pistons haven't made the playoffs since being swept in the first round in 2009 — in Michael Curry's only season at the helm. Cheeks is Detroit's ninth coach since the 1999-2000 season.

"We wanted to make sure we took our time and went through as many possible scenarios as we've come across," team president Joe Dumars said. "We feel like we got the right guy for what we're trying to do."

This is the third head coaching stop for Cheeks. He went 284-286 with the Portland Trail Blazers and Philadelphia 76ers. Cheeks' coaching tenure in Portland is perhaps best remembered for a heartwarming moment when he rushed to the rescue of a 13-year-old girl who forgot the words to the national anthem before a game. But he's never been past the first round of the playoffs.

"Everything you go through is a learning experience," Cheeks said. "I'm here to make my own way, put my own stamp on this team. It has nothing to do with Philadelphia or Portland."

Detroit drafted Greg Monroe, Brandon Knight and Andre Drummond in the lottery the last three years, and the Pistons have the No. 8 pick this year. They've been able to build a nucleus of young players with potential, but Detroit has lacked a legitimate star who could lift the team into the postseason and help draw fans.

This offseason is an important one for Dumars after the team cleared salary cap space by trading veterans Ben Gordon and Tayshaun Prince in the last year.

"This team has a lot of young talent," Cheeks said. "You go across the board, and you've got players that just have to be honed."

Jonas Jerebko, a 26-year-old forward whose playing time dipped last season, was at Thursday's news conference.

"He's going to demand respect, and that's something we need," Jerebko said. "I feel like he's a great fit for our young team."

Jerebko said he was shooting around with a couple other players earlier Thursday when Cheeks tried to set the tone for the future.

"I had a couple flip-flops on or something — you know, messing around," Jerebko said. "He told us: 'When you're in there, you've got to put in work.' ... That's what you want as a player — you want somebody to tell you what to do. I won't be wearing my flip-flops out there."

Cheeks spent the past four seasons as an Oklahoma City Thunder assistant. The Chicago native was a four-time All-Star over 15 seasons in the NBA, helping the Sixers win a championship in 1983.

Next season will mark the 10-year anniversary of Detroit's championship in 2004. Since then, the team has parted ways with the stars from that team, and the Pistons also have a fairly new owner. Tom Gores took over the franchise two years ago.

Hall of Famer Phil Jackson helped with Detroit's coaching search as a consultant, but Dumars said there was "a 100 percent consensus" to hire Cheeks.

Dumars is the team's most obvious link to its more successful past, and he acknowledges that no matter how many changes the team makes, fans will take a wait-and-see approach until the Pistons start winning again.

"I think people are always skeptical until you prove yourself," Dumars said. "I'm not here to try and prove to people in the press conference that everything is perfect. What I am saying, though, is we're not going to stop working until we get it right. I think that's all you can do in this position."

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

NY Mets 8 FINAL
Atlanta 2
Philadelphia 3 FINAL
NY Yankees 1
Detroit 5 FINAL
Baltimore 4
Toronto 4 FINAL
Pittsburgh 1
Cincinnati 2 FINAL
Cleveland 4
San Diego 3 FINAL
Seattle 4
Chicago WSox 6 FINAL
Los Angeles 4
Kansas City 13 FINAL
Texas 2
Oakland 9 FINAL
San Francisco 2
Wisc-Milwaukee 0 FINAL
Milwaukee 8
Arizona 6 FINAL
Colorado 3
Univ of Minnesota 1 FINAL
Minnesota 3
New York 82 FINAL
Indiana 105
Phoenix 105 FINAL
Orlando 100
Cleveland 120 FINAL
Toronto 112
Utah 84 FINAL
Boston 85
Charlotte 115 FINAL
Brooklyn 91
Denver 100 FINAL
Minnesota 85
Detroit 85 FINAL
New Orleans 88
LA Lakers 94 FINAL
Miami 100
Philadelphia 118 FINAL
Oklahoma City 123
Memphis 102 FINAL
Houston 100
Sacramento 85 FINAL
San Antonio 112
Milwaukee 93 FINAL
Golden State 102
Portland 98 FINAL
LA Clippers 93
Ottawa 3 FINAL
Winnipeg 1
NY Rangers 1 FINAL(OT)
Detroit 2
Pittsburgh 1 FINAL
Colorado 3
Montreal 1 FINAL
Anaheim 3
Longwood 65 FINAL
Presbyterian 61
Campbell 64 FINAL
Gardner-Webb 72
Liberty 70 FINAL
UNC-Asheville 80
Ohio State 77 FINAL
Penn State 67
Maine 66 FINAL
Albany 83
Duquesne 81 FINAL
Fordham 66
George Washington 67 FINAL
George Mason 51
Tennessee 78 FINAL
LSU 63
Notre Dame 71 FINAL
Louisville 59
SE Missouri St 74 FINAL
Morehead State 79
St Francis-PA 73 FINAL
Mount St Marys 58
Hartford 63 FINAL
New Hampshire 67
Wagner 68 FINAL
Robert Morris 91
Long Island 70 FINAL
St Francis-NY 79
La Salle 50 FINAL
Saint Josephs 55
Providence 79 FINAL
Seton Hall 66
UCF 45 FINAL
South Florida 74
Binghamton 57 FINAL
Stony Brook 62
UMBC 39 FINAL
Vermont 66
Sacred Heart 85 FINAL
Bryant 91
Richmond 56 FINAL
Massachusetts 53
Wake Forest 51 FINAL
Duke 94
Purdue 66 FINAL
Michigan State 72
Miami-Florida 67 FINAL
Pittsburgh 63
St Bonaventure 64 FINAL
Saint Louis 48
New Mexico St 69 FINAL
TX-Pan American 48
Houston 68 FINAL
Tulane 63
Howard 62 FINAL
NJIT 71
TCU 70 FINAL
Oklahoma State 82
Cincinnati 56 FINAL
Tulsa 47
USC 74 FINAL
UCLA 85
Miss State 56 FINAL
Vanderbilt 66
Utah State 53 FINAL
Wyoming 76
St Johns 67 FINAL
Marquette 51
SIU Edwardsville 66 FINAL
Eastern Ill 78
Air Force 66 FINAL
Fresno State 68
Nebraska 57 FINAL
Illinois 69
Colorado State 78 FINAL
Nevada 62
Boise State 68 FINAL
San Jose St 51
San Diego St 60 FINAL
UNLV 58
Oregon 65 FINAL
Oregon State 62
UC Santa Barbara 98 FINAL
Hawaii 90
Toledo 64 FINAL
Northern Ill 68
Wake Forest 69 FINAL
Boston College 53
Eastern Illinois 35 FINAL
UT Martin 68
Austin Peay 69 FINAL
SIU-Edwardsville 72
Virginia Tech 57 FINAL
NC State 56
Massachusetts 55 FINAL
St Bonaventure 49
Auburn 71 FINAL
Florida 49
Penn State 63 FINAL
Indiana 68
Clemson 53 FINAL
Georgia Tech 80
Davidson 63 FINAL
La Salle 74
Loyola-Maryland 46 FINAL
Lafayette 58
Boston U 48 FINAL
Colgate 58
Coll of Charleston 58 FINAL
James Madison 107
Delaware 76 FINAL
Elon 77
Drexel 58 FINAL
Northeastern 42
Hofstra 75 FINAL
UNC-Wilmington 76
Towson 56 FINAL
William & Mary 68
Miami-Ohio 55 FINAL
Akron 67
Ball State 85 FINAL
Central Michigan 69
Buffalo 55 FINAL
Bowling Green 47
Western Mich 65 FINAL
Eastern Michigan 74
Ohio U 69 FINAL
Kent State 56
Youngstown St 62 FINAL
Cleveland State 73
Illinois-Chicago 54 FINAL
Wright State 74
Alabama 56 FINAL
Vanderbilt 66
Detroit 60 FINAL
Milwaukee 56
Purdue 58 FINAL
Wisconsin 56
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Who is doing the best job coaching a Minnesota pro sports team?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close