After a disappointing first half to the 2013/14 NBA season, the Pistons have fired coach Maurice Cheeks just 50 games into his first season with the team, reported Yahoo! Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski this morning. Half a game back from a playoff spot in a under performing eastern conference, Detroit made big moves in the offseason to ensure themselves a legitimate shot a a playoff berth in 2014 and so far, it hasn’t payed off. New signings Brandon Jennings and Josh Smith (whom, together, the Pistons have invested over $80 million in) have both struggled to make a consistent contribution, while big men Andre Drummond and Greg Monroe continue to impress as two of the league’s revered bigs. While this may be the case, it hasn’t helped the Pistons cause in the long run and their record reflects a team who has given up, and no longer has the desire to play for their coach. Unfortunately for Cheeks, management have decided his tenure must end for the team to move forward in a positive light.
“It’s frustrating because we’re better than our record,” Pistons owner Tom Gores told Vincent Goodwill of The Detroit News earlier today. “I see a lot of possibilities; we have to come together, we have to jell. I don’t think you can say our team and players don’t work hard. We just have to figure out how to work together.”
Several reporters have today said that former Grizzlies coach Lionel Hollins, who was axed by the team this past off season, may be in line for the job after expressive a deep desire to continue coaching in the NBA. It’s a wise move for Detroit, given Hollins’ record with Memphis proved him to be more than capable of guiding a team deep into the playoffs, making it through to the Western Conference finals in his last year there. A strong willed players coach, Hollins would provide a much needed boost and revitalization for a locker room that is clearly in desperate need of true leadership.