In a somewhat stunning move, the Detroit Pistons have fired head coach Maurice Cheeks after only 50 games in charge. This move has been described as an effort from Pistons owner Tom Gore to shake things up in Mo-Town, but what it truly does is show a larger level of incompetence on the owner and general manager Joe Dumars.
One of the main issues that the Pistons have had during the current campaign is on the defensive end of the ball, which is no surprise considering the fact the team’s two big money signings over the summer were Brandon Jennings and Josh Smith. The two offensive-minded players have led Detroit in scoring at 17.7 and 16.1 points per game, but it’s no surprise that neither has attempted to play defense in 2013-14. This is not especially encouraging when one considers that neither is a dominant offensive force on the level of a Carmelo Anthony or Kevin Durant, meaning that much of their offensive prowess is immediately eliminated by not hustling, or really contributing, defensively.
When you add to these two players with the fact that power forward Greg Monroe is by no means a defensive stalwart, you are left with three guys that will score points but won’t play defense. Surely no sane mind would believe that sticking powerhouse center Andre Drummond on the court for 30 minutes a game will completely make up for a lineup full of players that otherwise doesn’t know what defense is, or that is unless you run the Pistons.
With a roster full of offensive-minded players that doesn’t truly include a superstar, it is obvious why Detroit would rank amongst the worst defensive team’s in the NBA. They have lived up to the potential of their roster, ranking 25th in the NBA at 102.8 points per game allowed, and averaging over 100 points scored per game.
All in all, it is almost comical that Cheeks is being fired at this point in the season. The Pistons are in the midst of a two game winning streak, are only half a game out of the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference — although they do have an unsightly 21-29 record — and they are playing the exact brand of high scoring basketball that was demanded by offseason roster construction. The people that should be waking up to take a look in the mirror are Gore and Dumars, who apparently feel that by recycling coaches, ineptitude in the front office will be forgotten.