The hiring of Maurice Cheeks as coach by the Detroit Pistons sent a special message to the key players on the team: deliver the goods or expect to pay a painful price.
Cheeks brings the most respect to the Pistons coaching job since Larry Brown during the championship stretch of 2004. With John Kuester, Detroit had a coach of whom players laughed at after after he was ejected from the game. With Lawrence Frank, the Pistons had a skipper who would draw open criticism from his players for substitution strategy.
Cheeks is not going to take anything like that and anyone on the Pistons roster for the 2013-14 season will find that out in a hurry. After a close loss, after am embarrassing loss, during a losing streak or during other down times, Cheeks will make sure there’s a strong respect for him and his decisions. It’s something the Pistons haven’t had in a long time.
He’s likely to huddle with general manager Joe Dumars and figure out which potential troublemakers the team might have and may want to include in an offseason NBA trade. Rodney Stuckey probably wouldn’t be around if Frank had returned as coach. Stuckey might be a part of a major trade Dumars will try to get in turning the team around with a high profile player, who could help the Pistons get back to respectability.
A new coach for the Pistons obviously doesn’t mean an automatic improvement in the team standings. Their last three coaching hires have resulted in teams with poor records. But if Cheeks can get every player on his roster to play at a 100 percent level 100 percent of the time, or at least somewhere near the 100 figure, then he may be on his way to success with the ball team.