Pistons hire Maurice Cheeks as head coach, leaving quality candidates for the LA Clippers

June 10, 2013

The Detroit Pistons announced today that they have hired Maurice Cheeks as head coach, signing him to a multi-year contract. A former standout point guard with the 76ers, Cheeks brings more than 30-plus years of NBA experience to the job.

“We’re pleased to welcome Maurice Cheeks to the Pistons organization,” Pistons President of Basketball Operations Joe Dumars said.  “The leadership and player development qualities he brings as a former player and coach blends nicely with the roster we are building for the future.  He’s won an NBA championship, coached in two NBA Finals as an assistant coach and mentored some of the top young players in the NBA.”

Out West, the impact of Cheeks' new job means that the Los Angeles Clippers still have all of their preferred head coaching candidates available, including George Karl, Brian Shaw, and Byron Scott.

Cheeks began his coaching career with the Quad City Thunder of the Continental Basketball Association.  During his only season with Quad City (1993-94), he helped guide the club to the CBA Championship.

The 56-year-old Chicago native served as head coach of the Portland Trail Blazers from 2001-05 recording a 162-139 (.538) regular-season record.  His Portland teams made consecutive playoff appearances in 2001 and 2002 and posted records of .500 or better three times, including a 50-32 mark in 2002-03.

Cheeks was named head coach of the Philadelphia 76ers in 2005 and led the Sixers to a 122-147 (.454) record in three-plus seasons.  He led the team to the playoffs in 2008, marking the club’s first postseason appearance in three years.  The 76ers were 12 games under .500 in early February that season and improved to 21-7 the remainder of the year to clinch a playoff berth.

A 15-year NBA veteran, Cheeks was a true pass-first point guard and a key member of the 76ers’ 1983 "Fo, fo, fo" title team.

He was named to the NBA All-Defensive Team five times, which included four first-team honors.  A four-time All-Star, Cheeks averaged 11.1 points, 2.8 rebounds, 6.7 assists, and 2.1 steals while shooting 52% from the field.  He enjoyed his best year during the 1985-86 season when he averaged 15.4 points and a career-high 9.2 assists. Cheeks currently ranks 11th all-time in NBA history in assists (7,392), fifth all-time in steals (2,310), and had his #10 jersey was retired by the 76ers in 1995.

Cheeks joins the Pistons after serving  four years as an assistant coach with Oklahoma City, where he helped guide the Thunder to a 212-100 (.707) record, four playoff appearances, and an NBA Finals appearance in 2012.

By Staff of The Daily Sports Herald and news services

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