The Detroit Pistons have just reached the midway point of the regular season and their record is anything but impressive. Detroit has become an underachieving ball club as they sit 10 games under .500 in a very mediocre Eastern Conference.
Sure, their frequent non-existent defensive outings, high turnover rate and overall lack of team chemistry are all valid reasons behind a disappointing stretch this year. However, you cannot fire your players in professional basketball. Therefore, it may already be time for Pistons head coach Maurice Cheeks to make his way to the unemployment line.
This isn’t to say that Cheeks is a bad coach. His resume boasts a near .500 win-loss record that includes prior stints with the Portland Trailblazers and Philadelphia 76ers. Cheeks has also made the playoffs in three of his six full seasons as an NBA head coach. But, he simply may not be the man for this particular gig.
Growing pains are not surprising on a Pistons team that features a revamped roster and one of the youngest starting fives in all of basketball. Despite these transitions, Detroit should be contending for a decent spot in the playoffs instead of for a high pick in the upcoming NBA Draft Lottery.
This is where Cheeks has to shoulder much of the blame. A roster that includes All-Star caliber talent in Josh Smith and Brandon Jennings as well as up and comers Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond should simply not be this bad. The firing of Cheeks may be looked at as a desperation move by Joe Dumars, but one that is necessary to save this season from utter failure,
If Cheeks is in fact given his pink slip, it will be interesting to see who the Pistons tab as their interim coach for the rest of the season. They may choose to look within their existing coaching staff or perhaps they will branch out elsewhere.
Former Denver Nuggets head coach George Karl is a candidate with a very successful past. It may not hurt to give him a call. No matter where Detroit finishes in the standings this year, it will be intriguing to see what happens off the court.