If Maurice Cheeks didn’t feel any pressure about coaching the Detroit Pistons when he took the job, he must be feeling it now.
Since Cheeks was announced as the new coach several weeks ago, the Pistons have improved their ball team with offseason transactions. The two most significant acquisitions were Brandon Jennings and Josh Smith, but signing the ageless Chauncey Billups and drafting Kentavious Caldwell-Pope is also likely going to put the team in the right direction.
If Andre Drummond fulfills his potential and helps Greg Monroe get better, that’s only going to make life even more bearable for Cheeks. There’s also some talent on the bench with the likes of Will Bynum, Kyle Singler, Rodney Stuckey and Charlie Villanueva, just to name a few.
There’s certainly more talent than from the 2012-23 team that only produced a 29-53 record, and much more is likely to be expected of this group. In fact, if the Pistons don’t get more than 40 wins and make the playoffs, Cheeks may have to pay the price.
This is the most talented Pistons team in six seasons. Cheeks needs to pull the right strings and put the right lineups together to produce impressive results.
It’s not that he gets to sit back and watch the players perform. He needs to correct Jennings’ turnover problems and find a way for Smith to blend in with Drummond and Monroe in a crowded paint area. He needs to keep everyone happy with enough playing time and make sure no one underachieves.
Cheeks was brought in for these purposes. He knows what’s expected of him and wants to deliver badly. It appears he’ll have the chance to succeed.