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Maurice Cheeks bans flip-flops, non-Pistons gear on practice court

Brendan Savage of MLive:

"Me, Khris and Kim were out there shooting and I had a couple flip-flops on, messing around, and he told us when you’re out there you have to put in work," Jerebko said. "He told us on Day 1 what he wanted. I definitely respect that.

"That’s what you want as a player. You want somebody to tell you what to do. I won’t be wearing my flip-flops no more."

Cheeks clearly wants accountability and respect from the players and that’s fine with Jerebko.

"It doesn’t bother me at all," Jerebko said. "That’s what he should demand. We’re professional basketball players. He should demand that. And he should get that to from everybody."

Although the message regarding attire was directed at Jerebko, it wasn’t lost on English, who understands there was more to it than just a teammate being called out for wearing a pair of flip-flops during an informal workout.

"Whenever we’re in the facility, we’re to be wearing Detroit Pistons’ stuff," English said. "There should be a sense of pride in putting on those Detroit letters every time you take the court. That was the extent of (Thursday’s message). Every time you’re on the court, come to work and be in Detroit stuff.

This is fine and good right now, but how will it go over when the Pistons are suffering through a six-game losing streak – most teams had least one this season – and a player arrives at practice in a non-Pistons shirt? Does Maurice Cheeks punish a player who’s likely already sour due to the losing? Does Cheeks let it go and erode his credibility?

There are no easy answers once you walk down this road.

Scott Skiles, who clashed with Bulls players after instituting a headband ban, comes to mind. Coaching in the NBA is more about picking battles than setting artificial standards just to foster discipline.

This isn’t like demanding players arrive on time to practice, which actually improves results. I would love every player to take so much pride in playing for the Pistons that he wants to wear Pistons gear at all times, but that’s unrealistic and also won’t really affect the team’s record. Neither will Jonas Jerebko wearing flip-flops while shooting around at a time he wouldn’t have been shooting around seriously, anyway.

If Cheeks sets this hard line, it could make his job harder at some point. If he can actually get his players to follow his orders this closely, good for him, but that’s a tall order in an NBA locker room full of players increasingly want to show their independence.


  • Jun 19, 201311:34 am
    by tom


    Dan, your articles are becoming more and more petty. It’s not so much the fact that you dare to criticize the Pistons, it’s more the attitude and condescension behind it. You can either ignore this or defend yourself, but there are similar comments to a growing number of your posts; I hope you at least take the time to consider the fact that those of us who criticize might have a point.

    • Jun 19, 20131:18 pm
      by Clint in Flint


      More from “Dismal Dan”.

    • Jun 20, 20137:20 am
      by Dan Feldman


      Tom, I read every comment on this site. I also don’t believe they’re representative of our readership. First, commenters are a self-selected sample who don’t necessarily think the same way as people who don’t comment. Second it’s human nature to comment when you disagree and nod passively to yourself when you agree with articles online. I respond the same way. When I write positive posts, a different group of comments criticizes me, and the people who dislike my negative posts nod silently.

      Of course, those are general trends, and like I said, I read every comment on this site. I obviously do that for a reason. 

      But I’m also just going to stick to writing what I believe, regardless of who likes it. 

  • Jun 19, 201311:40 am
    by Mel


    You going to deep with this. Cheeks s just setting a tone to create some pride in with the players. If Cheeks was going to take it to the level of Scott Skiles he would then be considered a players coach. Boston is a team that prides them selves in wearing only there gear, the Lakers too. Even Jerebko liked the discipline. Once Stucky is sent packing all the attitude problems will be gone. Since him Joe D has picked players who are willing to follow and that are looking for the disciplined approach. As long as Cheeks is consistent and continues to convince the players of his goals they will be alright.

  • Jun 19, 201311:48 am
    by Enrique


    Men… you really hate cheeks.

  • Jun 19, 201311:55 am
    by Crispus



  • Jun 19, 201311:58 am
    by Matt


    Is there anything good to say about this guy besides Westbrook and the National Anthem? I’m starting to suspect Curry part 4 or 5, I lost count.
    I personally don’t think this one is that bad though. We should take pride in being Pistons.
    On another note do you think the practice attendance was more than at most of our games? Our guys could wear a Tigers uniform at most of our games and no one would notice.

  • Jun 19, 201312:14 pm
    by mshansky


    I still think the real key to Cheeks’ success or failure will be the quality of the personnel he has to work with. And that means no Stuckey, whatever they have to do to rid themselves of this worthless mediocrity.

  • Jun 19, 201312:17 pm
    by koz


    Didn’t Jerebko blow out his achilles? He should be the last person to correct about proper foot gear. Cheeks is right about all of this.

  • Pingback

    Jun 19, 201312:18 pm
    by 2013 Pistons Offseason - Page 16


    [...] sort of already discussed this when he was hired. http://www.pistonpowered.com/2013/06…ractice-court/ VT Reply With [...]

  • Jun 19, 201312:22 pm
    by RyanK


    Personally, I thought this was a Kim English “company man” statement.  The article sounded like Cheeks was letting Jonas know not to wear flip flops at practice…then English, who’s campaigning for the option on his second year, chimes in with a “I have little pistons flowing through my veins statement.”  I know a butt kisser when I hear one.  

    My biggest complaint about stuff like this is how context is lost when the media reports on something.  For all we know, Cheeks could have had a total meltdown over the flip flop issue, berating Jonas in a 10-15 minutes screaming session…they might have even come to blows over it.  Or it could have been, he just joked around with him about it.  

    This becomes an article and Dan fills in the gaps with his anti-cheeks perspective… 

    • Jun 19, 20131:21 pm
      by XstreamINsanity


      There’s a video out there of Jonas talking about it in a great tone, so I doubt the former.  :)

  • Jun 19, 20131:03 pm
    by Derek AKA Redeemed


    I love the approach of building uniform standards for the team that communicates goin’ to work (come dressed for a workout when you’re here) and solidarity/enthnocentristic team attitude (wear your Pistons gear).  Those are functional/pragmatic requirements teams can get behind and police each other on.  There’s more of a chance of buy in for what Cheeks is instituting as opposed to what Skilies did with the headband…ban.

    I don’t see where those two requirements are the same thing at all.

    • Jun 20, 20137:31 am
      by Dan Feldman


      “solidarity/enthnocentristic team attitude”

      I believe that was exactly the point of Skiles’ headband ban. 

      • Jun 20, 20132:38 pm
        by Derek AKA Redeemed


        Not sure I see how that shakes out in a headband ban, but ok thanks for responding.  So can we agree what Cheeks is mandating sends a more transparent message?  It is a  little hard to buy in to a regulation when the message isn’t as intuitive as it needs to be.

        Skiles failed where I think Cheeks message will be more successfully received.

  • Jun 19, 20131:11 pm
    by KillMovez


    If mo cheeks works… dan  you’re gonna look  very stupid! You always have something snarky to say . Can we atleast see some action first?

    • Jun 20, 20137:32 am
      by Dan Feldman


      Why would I look stupid? Because I think his success is less likely than likely? I’ve never said he won’t work.

  • Jun 19, 20131:12 pm
    by Dan Feldman is a hater


    If mo cheeks works… dan  you’re gonna look  very stupid! You always have something snarky to say . Can we atleast see some action first??

  • Jun 19, 20131:19 pm
    by mixmasta


    Dan’s recent postings go like this:
    [Catchy Headline]
    [Excerpt from another article]
    [Talk a little about the article]
    [Insert random anti-Cheeks rant]

  • Jun 19, 20131:28 pm
    by XstreamINsanity


    I’m missing anywhere in the article where it states that he’s banned anything.  We’ve heard paraphrasing from Jerebko and English about the conversation, but we don’t know exactly what Cheeks said.  Also, from the video I watched, Jerebko spoke of the conversation with a good tone, meaning what he said couldn’t have been that harsh.

    I do agree that the Pistons should be in Pistons gear when practicing or at a Pistons event.  This is a very minor request and I don’t think this would cause any issues in the locker room.  SHOULD Cheeks get upset at someone for coming to the practice facility unprepared?  Absolutely (unless there is a very good excuse, like you were at the hospital all night with your sick child, etc.).  That is your job, a professional basketball player, BE PREPARED!!!

    Also, show pride in the team that you play for.  If you don’t have that pride or don’t want to play for that team, let the owner/GM know so that you can be moved and preferably replaced with someone of equal or better talent.

    I find nothing wrong with what was reported in the original article or by Jerebko and Stuckey, but it really feels like this article has put words in Cheeks’, Jerebko’s and English’s mouths.

    Also, in regards to the flip flops, in 5th grade, my coach told me that if you ever do anything that is related to your job, do it exactly how you would for your job.  He even told me to stop playing street ball because it wasn’t structured.  Same thing here.  If you’re going to shoot in tennis shoes during a game, do the same during practice, even relaxed practice.  Honestly, if he was practicing like that often last season, it could explain why his shot was off to start the season.  Just saying.

    • Jun 20, 20137:34 am
      by Dan Feldman


      “in 5th grade, my coach told me that if you ever do anything that is related to your job, do it exactly how you would for your job.  He even told me to stop playing street ball because it wasn’t structured.”

      If a coach is telling a fifth grader not to play pickup games with his friends, he sounds like a tool. 

      • Jun 20, 20139:58 am
        by XstreamINsanity


        It wasn’t pick up games with my friends.  It was people from around my neighborhood, some older than 30.  But as a 5th grader, I didn’t get into many of those games (always picked last when you’re the youngest).  But I still agree with the concept.  I do the same thing when I shoot pool against friends, I shoot them exactly the same way I do in my pool league.  Not using the same technique you do when it means something just because it’s “practice” (yes, we’re talking about practice) for most people hinders memory muscle and development.

  • Jun 19, 20131:53 pm
    by GM


    Maybe I’m being too ‘meta’, but maybe Dan is doing this to get the fans behind Cheeks?  He’s making himself into the villain so we pull for Mo Cheeks?  I know I was more upset with the hire when it was first announced than I am now, and I think some of that is just because Piston Powered, a website I frequent a couple times a day, is so against him.  He’s turned Mo into even more of an underdog, which is EXACTLY what first made me a Pistons fan in the mid 80s.

    • Jun 19, 20136:39 pm
      by Westen Shelton


      GM, I doubt anyone from PistonPowered is putting that much thought into it, but I feel the same way as you. I was pretty disgusted with the hire when it happened. But the way PistonPowered keeps taking articles and stories from years and years ago, twists the smallest things (like this) into something negative, and totally ignores positive player impressions of Cheeks (either the freep or the News had an article which featured quotes from former players of his speaking highly of him), I do find myself totally pulling from him now.
      On one hand, I absolutely appreciate the lack of homer bias on this site, and thats one reason why I come here way more often than checking out freep, Mlive or the News, but the analysis of Cheeks is getting so one-dimensional that it reflects poorly on whatever journalistic standards you guys hoped to hold yourselves to, even if it is “just a blog”.

  • Jun 19, 20137:53 pm
    by RalphHau


    Setting the tone early, I admire that.  Again Mr Dan Feldman you are on Cheeks like peanut butter and jelly, however, you don’t seem to have a reason for your anti Cheeks methods.  Seems to me that you should have applied for the Pistons Head Coach, you are so knowledgeable on all matter of coaching!  Give it a break Dan!

  • Jun 19, 20139:53 pm
    by Pacman


    There’s a difference between being realistic (ie not a homer) and negative. This is a pretty trivial news story and everything I’ve read from that article makes it out to be that way. The only thing I took out of this was that a couple of players are enjoying having a new face in the practice facilities. It would have been a news story if Jerebko came out and said he didn’t like Cheeks’ attitude. He didn’t. Apart from that, I really don’t think you can build too much from this one news story, one way or the other.

  • Jun 20, 20133:56 am
    by Corey


    I like it. Flip-flops says “I’m just screwing around out here.” it develops the habit of being lazy on the basketball court. And risks injury if you actually do any work.

  • Jun 20, 20139:51 am
    by danny


    Changing the culture this is what i want.  Making people take pride in their team and came here to work.  That’s it Mo let em know.

  • Jun 20, 201310:45 am
    by Matt


    As long as we don’t mutiny a 4th coach I’ll consider him successful.

  • Jun 20, 201311:00 am
    by Roscoe


    You’re right, wearing the same t-shirt in practice won’t necessarily lead to team success, but let’s be fair: Skiles has always been prickly with his players, and we know enough about Cheeks to know he’s not like that guy. He can set standards of professionalism and not be a raging a-hole.

  • Jun 20, 20134:26 pm
    by Shawn


    Sometimes, how things are said is more important than what is said.  If Jerebko wasn’t offended by it then Cheeks probably conducted himself properly.  This sort of discipline is appropriate and gets the players attention.  I think it’s necessary and I can’t figure out why it is being compared to a false equivalence such as the headband thing with Scott Skiles.

  • Jun 20, 20135:41 pm
    by Derek aka Redeemed


    @Shawn excellent point. 

    what is said and its said are critical to conveying proper message and building a healthy community.  

  • Jun 20, 20135:45 pm
    by Derek aka Redeemed


    What is said and how it is said is extremely important. 

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