News broke late Thursday evening that the Pistons General Manger (Joe Dumars) and Owner (Tom Gores) have decided on a new head coach as the Pistons enter their next chapter of basketball. Mo Cheeks is expected to accept the job as they hammer out the details to his contract over the weekend.
Cheeks, who was an Assistant Coach on Scott Brooks staff in Oklahoma City for four years now, was considered a front runner for the job as was former Head Coach of the Portland Trailblazers and Seattle Supersonics, Nate McMillan.
Cheeks has had two stints as a Head Coach in his career, one with the Portland Trailblazers (2001-2005) and the other with the Philadelphia 76ers (2005-2008). He has an all-time record of 284-286 over his two separate stints as Head Coach. Along with other personal accolades, Cheeks played in the NBA for 15 years at the point guard position, 11 which, were with the Philadelphia 76ers. He was a 4-time All-Star and help lead the 76ers to three separate trips to the NBA Finals (1980, 1982, 1983).
As a coach, Cheeks has been praised around the league with how well he develops young talent. He was a lead Assistant on Larry Brown's staff during the Allen Iverson era, and Brown praised him as a reason to Iverson's development as a point guard. Cheeks has also helped groom All-NBA Second Teamer and Oklahoma City Thunder star point guard Russell Westbrook.
Even though Mo Cheeks may not be a sexy pick for Piston fans, he is somebody that could help further the development of the Detroit Pistons young core, especially combo guard Brandon Knight. As GM Joe Dumars tried to groom his former "point guard of the future," Rodney Stuckey by trading away franchise point guard Chauncey Billups for the great (sarcasm) Allen Iverson, he tried to give Stuckey the wheel to the franchise. As we all know, that has not turned out as Dumars had envisioned. With four sub par coaches in Stuckey's tenure in Detroit, none of them have been able to get the best out of Stuckey. With the hiring of Cheeks, I feel Dumars is trying to learn from his mistakes and help properly develop Brandon Knight into the point guard he can become.
Cheeks will take over a young, hungry, and inexperienced team, with a determined and thirsty owner that is ready for his first taste of the playoffs. Another key factor to the hiring of Mo Cheeks is his relationship with about to be free agent small forward Andre Iguodala. With the ousting of Executive as well as Coach of the Year in Denver, a lot of things seem to be up in the air as to which direction the franchise wants to go in.
With a lot of money to spend in the offseason, it will be interesting to see the impact of what the hiring of Cheeks will have on the incoming free agent class of 2013.