How the Pistons Hired Maurice Cheeks


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It looks like the Detroit Pistons are about to offer the position of head coach to Maurice Cheeks. Considering that the Pistons have been blasted for their carousel of coaches lately (they have had four different head coaches since 2008), along with Tom Gores' raised expectations and bringing in the legendary Phil Jackson to help scour for Lawrence Frank's replacement, there has been a lot of buzz on who the Pistons might hire. With all of that said, nobody is more disappointed in their choice than me. So I have written a script on how Joe Dumars and Phil Jackson came to the conclusion that Cheeks was the best candidate to coach the Detroit Pistons.


Scene: Detroit Pistons President of Basketball Operations, Joe Dumars, is sitting at a desk in his office. His desk is covered with hundreds of crayons and a Dora the Explorer coloring book. While Dumars is carefully coloring a picture of Dora playing in a sandbox, Pistons owner Tom Gores walks in to address the coaching situation.


TOM: "Good morning Joe! Listen - Sorry about forcing you to hire Lawrence Frank two years ago and then throwing you under the bus when things didn't work out. But don't worry, I have hired my good friend, Phil Jackson, to help you hire a new coach!"

Phil Jackson walks in and sits down in an inflatable chair that is covered with Elmo stickers.

JOE: "Wait a minute, didn't you tell the media last week that the new coaching hire would be my decision this time?"

TOM: "Well, yes. But Phil Jackson is the greatest coach in NBA History. I thought he would know a thing or two about who to hire."

PHIL: "Hey Joe"

JOE: "Hello Phil."

TOM: "Good luck gentlemen! Don't let me down!"

Tom Gores leaves the room and closes the door on his way out.

PHIL: "So where are you on finding a new coach?"

JOE: "Well, I have talked to Maurice Cheeks and Nate McMillan. Nate seems to be more qualified considering his greater winning percentage and approval with the Portland Trail Blazers' fan base, but I'm sort of leaning toward Maurice Cheeks despite the fact that teams seem to play significantly better after he gets fired."

PHIL: "Well, I like Brian Shaw, but he seems to only be interested in teams that are already good. I have to ask though, what's so great about Maurice Cheeks?"

JOE: "Well, he has spent the past couple of years coaching in Oklahoma City as an assistant to Scott Brooks. We need a guy who can coach point guards considering that I have a nasty habit of drafting combo guards like Rodney Stuckey and Brandon Knight and not knowing what to do with them. With how Russell Westbrook has flourished, I think Cheeks would work wonders on Brandon Knight."

PHIL: "But what has Cheeks really done in OKC? Westbrook's biggest flaw is that he does not play the point guard position very well at all. He's just a freak athlete and ridiculously amazing basketball player that happens to play the point guard position. That would be like an NFL team hiring Wayne Fonts as a running back coach just because he coached Barry Sanders."

JOE: "True, but Cheeks has been to the playoffs three times!"

PHIL: "In eight seasons! He also has lost in the first round each time. Your last coach, Lawrence Frank, at least made it out of the first round a few times. Frank also coached for the same amount of years in New Jersey as Cheeks has his entire career."

JOE: "What's your point?"

PHIL: "You're not really upgrading from Lawrence Frank. At all. In fact, I might argue that you're taking a step back. If you're really going for the experience thing, there are better, experienced head coaches available."

JOE: "Like who?"

PHIL: "Well, Stan Van Gundy says he won't coach in Detroit, so he's out. Lionel Hollins and George Karl are available though."

JOE: "Are they? I guess I haven't been reading the paper enough lately. But I have already interviewed Maurice Cheeks twice, and invited him back for a third interview."

PHIL: "So why can't you just cancel the interview and talk to Hollins and Karl instead?"

JOE: "You have to understand - Our organization already has a bad reputation with coaches. I don't want to disrespect Maurice Cheeks by canceling the interview."

PHIL: "Get the fuck out of here! It's not like Cheeks has other offers. Besides, if he turns down the job because you cancelled his interview, then that's a good thing.

JOE: "True..."

PHIL: "Also, why not just offer Hollins and Karl deals that they cannot refuse? Offer them more money than they'd get anywhere else. It's not like you're going to lure big time free agents with the cap space you created, especially when a chump like Cheeks is coaching. Aren't you better off splurging on a coach than on players that come off the bench?"

JOE: "But I gotta have a coach soon! The draft is coming up!"

PHIL: "Good point. You definitely don't want to waste any more time on a decision that could adversely affect the organization for the next 2-5 years and may cost you your job if it doesn't work out."

NATE McMILLAN: "Wait, am I really about to get passed up for Maurice Cheeks?"

JOE: "So it's settled, Maurice Cheeks?"

PHIL: "Sure, just make sure to not mention that I signed off on him."

JOE: "Why not?"

PHIL: "Because I didn't."

JOE: "So wait, I get all of the credit?"

PHIL (pats Dumars on the head): "You sure do!"

Phil walks out as Dumars resumes coloring his Dora the Explorer picture.



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