The Detroit Pistons have fired coach Maurice Cheeks, Yahoo! Sports Adrian Wojnarowski reported on Sunday.
The move is a bit jarring when considering Cheeks is only midway through his first season with the organization; the Pistons (21-29) are one-half game out of the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference; Detroit has won two straight games. Then again, reports of dysfunction have remained a constant in the Motor City this season. Actually, considering the Pistons have had eight coaches in 14 seasons, the dysfunction has been going on for quite a while.
Like the Washington Wizards, Detroit entered the season with the organization pushing for the playoffs. Considering the weakness in the East, sitting on the outside of the playoff picture is disappointing for a team that made significant moves this off-season, notably the additions of forward Josh Smith and point guard Brandon Jennings.
As for as the on-court issue, start with the frontcourt. Adding Smith to the big man pairing of Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond is the kind of move that sounds great in theory, but proves illogical in reality. All three operate best closer to the basket - even if Smith and his wayward 3-point shooting touch don't always receive that memo - but there is simply not enough room for all to roam inside at the same time. This seemed obvious when general manager Joe Dumars signed Smith to a lucrative contract this past off-season. It's become undeniable now that Smith ranks among the NBA's worst shooters and Monroe sits far more often than an All-Star caliber big man should.
If you're wondering about owner Tom Gores' thoughts on the situation, he said the following to reporters earlier this month, the Detroit Free Press reported.
“I actually don’t think we have done our best job to make sure they’re working at 100%,” Gores said. “We have great young players. These are guys that need a lot of preparation. “We have to get better and these young men work really, really hard. I feel like our job is to make sure that they are at their maximum and I don’t think they’re at their maximum.”
If you're wondering how the players found out about cheeks' dismissal, this "Wait, what" tweet from Jennings should help.
if you're wondering who takes over as head coach next, no official announcement has been made.
If you're hoping assistant coach, former NBA star and the occasionally controversial Rasheed Wallace gets the gig, you're not alone.