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Maurice Cheeks’ introductory press conference falls flat

When he hired John Kuester, Joe Dumars said, “He might have the most job security in the whole NBA right now.”

When he hired Lawrence Frank, Dumars said, “We are desperately trying to settle into a long-term coach.”

Both Frank and Kuester were fired after two seasons, and this time, as he introduced Maurice Cheeks, Dumars offered no similar promise of stability. As far as I heard, he wasn’t even asked about it.

Perhaps, reporters know it’s futile to ask when the results are so clearly contrary to what Dumars says in this part of the process. Or perhaps Dumars knows he no longer has the security himself to promise it to a coach.

Instead of discussing Cheeks’ chances of surviving his four-year contract, the Pistons delivered a clinic in how not to handle an introductory press conference.

The most impactful person in the organization, Tom Gores, didn’t make an appearance, and he apparently spent just “a couple hours” with Cheeks.

Dumars declined to address roster upgrades – far, far more essential to the Pistons’ future than a coaching change. “A different time, a different press conference,” he said.

No player was mentioned more than Rodney Stuckey, the middling malcontent whom Cheeks brought up without prompting, and neither Andre Drummond nor Greg Monroe were mentioned.

Want to excite fans and/or make them feel like they’re worthy of understanding their team’s direction? This was a lesson in how not to do that.

Cheeks certainly has positives, and even if I believe his negatives outweigh them, I was more than willing to look for reasons to hope. Highlight his best attributes and present them with excitement, and I could have gotten temporarily excited, even if would have lasted just an afternoon. Instead, Cheeks and Dumars muttered away with a disinterested tone.

It’s like the Pistons have given up any hopes of generating buzz. Dumars even said nobody ever buys at the time of the press conferences, even when the Pistons were perennial conference finalists –  but I don’t think that true at all. Back then, Dumars had the benefit of the doubt, and every transaction could reasonably be analyzed through the lens of, “What did the great Joe Dumars see here to believe it would work?” Once that was identified, fans and media got on board. Heck, Rick Carlisle attended his own firing press conference and praised Dumars for the move.

Winning the press conference is not that important – see Frank – but it’s better to excite in it than to not. Frank didn’t fail because he won his press conference, just as Cheeks won’t succeed because he lost his.

I guess I’ll have to wait until the fall for another chance to get truly excited, even if just momentarily, about Cheeks.

53 Comments

  • Jun 13, 20137:47 pm
    by mike

    Reply

    You’re right this was a pretty blah presser. Though I have to say I appreciated them not trying to oversell the hire. At they were being realistic, unlike the writers on their website who talks as if Cheeks is the best hire in history.

    I really have no idea how Cheeks will fare on the court coaching basketball, but I will say I think they may have gotten it right in terms of choosing the right personality for this team. I could see him being someone the players will want to go to war for, which sometimes can outweigh a lack of coaching IQ. I think Frank had the IQ, but the players simply didn’t care enough about him to go all out carrying out his plan.

    • Jun 14, 20139:24 am
      by tarsier

      Reply

      If Dumars thought blah was realistic, they should not have hired Cheeks.

      Joe didn’t have to think Cheeks was the best coach in history, but he should have thought that Cheeks was the very best coach he could have gotten at this point in time. Otherwise, the hire was an awful decision. And if Dumars thought that Cheeks was the best candidate he could get, you’d think he’d be excited about that.

      • Jun 14, 20139:50 am
        by Ryan

        Reply

        Once you’re (Joe’s) past the point of no return, might as well be honest about the hire. I agree with Mike, and hopefully everybody doubting him so much coming in gives Cheeks that back-against-the-wall mentality they had a few years ago.

      • Jun 14, 201310:20 am
        by mike

        Reply

        @tarsier, I think you misread my post. I didn’t say Joe thought Cheeks was a blah hire, I said the press conference was blah. I’m sure Joe is excited about Cheeks, but that doesn;t mean he needs to come on stage an talk everyone else into getting excited. If Cheeks is the right choice,  I’d rather him prove it on the court, than in a press conference is all I’m saying. 

        I remember Frank and Kuester’s press conferences were made into these grand events, filled with a bunch of bold proclamations and empty promises. I appreciated that they didn’t do that this time.

        • Jun 14, 201310:21 am
          by mike

          Reply

          And they will probably be better off because it, for not putting any self-imposed, unrealstic expectations on themselves.

        • Jun 14, 201311:14 am
          by Dan Feldman

          Reply

          “If Cheeks is the right choice,  I’d rather him prove it on the court, than in a press conference is all I’m saying.”

          It’s not an either/or proposition 

  • Jun 13, 20138:14 pm
    by joe dumars

    Reply

    I get the feeling Joe hasn’t gave up on his sacred cow yet. smh

    • Jun 13, 201311:43 pm
      by City of Klompton

      Reply

      Agreed.  I am alarmed.

  • Jun 13, 20138:22 pm
    by The Rake

    Reply

    This has been the norm in the Dumars era at least the last few years, but truly, are they any different anywhere else? The excitement is one for the individual. Even if we hired an “exciting” coach, like Shaw or the like, the presser would have been the same. JD, BTW, has put on a boatload of weight over the years. Dude is getting hefty, ala Chuck pre-weight watchers. Kinda sad. Alas, yeah, a standard presser, but some of the stuff reported elsewhere and afterwards (re: Cheeks taking ownership right away, teliing JJ to take off the flip flops and English to present himself as a professional in Detroit team gear) are little things that may be a hint of things to come. Look, nobody is fired up about Cheeks, but really, why not try to accentuate the positive? Hell, even a .500 career record would be better than we’ve had the last 4 years. We have no choice but to give this guy the benefit of the doubt, and as well all should know by now, players will make or break this team, more than the coach. If we draft well, shed a bad apple/contract or four, and pickup/trade for a few quality pieces, things will be on the uptick regardless of coach. That’s word.

    • Jun 13, 201311:45 pm
      by City of Klompton

      Reply

      We’ve all just been Raked.

    • Jun 14, 20139:28 am
      by tarsier

      Reply

      “That’s word.”

      Does this sentence mean anything? I’m struggling to decide whether it is even an actual sentence. 

      • Jun 14, 20139:58 am
        by Ryan

        Reply

        It’s a common phrase. You probably want to get acquainted with Google.

        • Jun 14, 201312:13 pm
          by tarsier

          Reply

          I’m probably one of the younger people on this board. It’s a sad state of affairs when I am relegated to thinking “kids these days, why can’t they learn to use the language correctly?”

          • Jun 14, 201312:31 pm
            by Ryan

            Yeah, language is constantly evolving. Descriptive>prescriptive. Resist that and you’ll likely find yourself stuck in the past or small academic circles very quickly.

          • Jun 14, 201312:51 pm
            by tarsier

            Because “that’s word” is so descriptive (sarcasm). Without trying to look it up, it sounds like an ESL or developmentally challenged person is trying to say that “those are words”, which is true, but not very helpful.

            Some changes are more worthwhile than others. Thankfully, most are fads. Hence why people no longer embarrass themselves by referring to things they like as tubular. 

          • Jun 14, 20131:12 pm
            by Ryan

            Descriptive v. prescriptive grammar.

          • Jun 14, 20131:30 pm
            by tarsier

            Your “descriptive” will work fine in this context and when hanging out with your buddies. But so would “prescriptive”. “Prescriptive” works fine when you want to be seen as professional and educated. In that context, the “descriptive” won’t do so well.

            I’ll take the more robust system, thanks. 

          • Jun 14, 20131:36 pm
            by Ryan

            While The Rake and I prefer the descriptive approach in fora like this. To each their own.

            It’s all pretty interesting stuff. I would recommend McWhorter, Curzan, Chomsky in their non-political works if you’re not familiar with them already. 

      • Jun 14, 201310:13 am
        by jacob

        Reply

        or  “Real talk.”

  • Jun 13, 20138:31 pm
    by Mel

    Reply

    Mo did talk about Kim English and Brandan Knight.  And He talked about putting his imprint on the organization. He talked about how being committed to the team and changing the mentality of the players was important to winning. He also talked about how most people think it’s easy to stay committed for a full season as an athlete and it’s not. He gave props to Joe and Zeke as players and said he wants to create that same sense of  commitment of play with these players, cause that’s what he was working with at OKC. And him and Gores talked for and extended amount of time, longer than 2 hours. They even joked about it being a day and 1/2.

    Oh yeah he also told Jerebko to get out of the gym wearing flip flops. He said the gym was for work. And Jonas was on board.

    You can add that to the article. Peace.

    • Jun 13, 20139:57 pm
      by XstreamINsanity

      Reply

       Thank you for posting everything I was going to post. :)

  • Jun 13, 20139:08 pm
    by john

    Reply

    Mo was also asked about how rapidly coaches were fired  and he respond by saying that if everybody only focused on the negatives nobody would take coaching jobs. 

  • Jun 13, 20139:24 pm
    by DasMark

    Reply

    It still went over better than the Xbox One press conference. 

    • Jun 13, 20139:58 pm
      by XstreamINsanity

      Reply

       Hell yeah it did.  Lol.  Starting to save now for that PS4!!!

  • Jun 13, 201310:17 pm
    by mike

    Reply

    I can’t believe Stuckey was even mentioned

    • Jun 14, 20138:02 am
      by RyanK

      Reply

      Just because the media builds up the notion Stuckey will be traded, it doesn’t mean it’s true.  Too many people believe what they read…assuming these reporters/bloggers know what they’re talking about or have some inside information.

  • Jun 13, 201310:37 pm
    by Tony J

    Reply

    Better hire than J Kidd that’s for sure. Kidd was a great player and leader but he was just a player a few weeks ago! Most player turned coaches study the coaching game as an assistant or coach of a D-league or college team. Not saying Kidd is going to be bad but that was worse risk by Brooklyn than it was for us getting cheeks who at least has experience as a HC and assistant.

    On a better note though, I wasn’t feeling this presser either Dan. I’m sure people are going to comment about “the negative feedback” that you give but this presser really did blow. I did like the fact that Jonas, Kim and Middleton all got a good vibe from him right off the bat though. The most I can hope for right now is that Mo comes in and get this team to play hard and to play as one and play for Detroit pride which I think is reasonable for Cheeks to do.  

    • Jun 14, 20131:40 pm
      by G

      Reply

      Mark Jackson was hired at Golden State with zero NBA coaching experience, assistant or otherwise. He waited a little longer after retirement to get a coaching job, but the concept is similar.

  • Jun 13, 201310:49 pm
    by Ozzie-Moto

    Reply

    I have blamed Joe Dumars for a lot of the missed opportunities and rudderless direction over the past 5 years but at this point it is all on Tom Gores and so far I have seen NOTHING that says he has a clue about owning this team  ..  he might be a good owner of the Palace but not a team…  His 3 major moves Keep Joe D / Hiring Frank / Keep Joe D again / Hire an over the hill boring coach … when there are some pretty good names still available.   Really showing no guts. letting J Dumars take the fall.    Sad 

  • Jun 13, 201311:09 pm
    by MrShourite

    Reply

    Yeah, I actually agree it was kind of lackluster. I guess the coaching change every 2 years that we have become famous for is getting old, but my main gripe with this press conference is when Coach Cheeks spoke about B.Knight saying he sees him having point guard skills and 2 guard skills basically a combo guard. Maybe, it was pushed by management to share and express that view on Knight at this point I don’t think he should have a bearing on who we take in the draft or who we target in free agency. Upgrades WELCOME!
    Kind of discouraging that we’re going into this season with the same dilemmas that should have been addressed this previous season. What role does Knight have? Can Drummond & Moose co-exsist and flourish simultaneously? What to do with Stuckey? Amnesty CV, etc. We have a lot to be optimistic of but a few things to be concerned about as well.

  • Jun 14, 20134:53 am
    by Gareth Masters

    Reply

    Bob Woj mentions in his article today that “Dumars could pull off a blockbuster trade for an expensive veteran such as, say, Boston’s Rajon Rondo. Or perhaps he could lure a free-agent like Denver’s Andre Iguodala.”

    Can we dream about / discuss the Rondo idea? Sounds like fun.

    • Jun 14, 201310:16 am
      by jacob

      Reply

      Who do we trade for Rondo?

      • Jun 14, 201310:21 am
        by Ryan

        Reply

        This year’s pick, Knight, Stuckey’s expiring… we’d have to wait to see who they get back for Pierce and Garnett, but if we put something like that together and take back a bad contract, it’s not impossible… might not be worth it, but…

        The problem that we’ll have trading with any team that’s not desperate to shave a contract because they’re already loaded is that they’ll get killed for not getting back Monroe or Drummond, and I wouldn’t give up either to get Rondo. 

        • Jun 14, 201311:15 am
          by jacob

          Reply

          Ya I guess we could pick whoever they wanted then trade them to Boston. I would trade Monroe and our 2nd rounder. We would have to sign Josh Smith though.

  • Jun 14, 20135:07 am
    by Grizz

    Reply

    Wasnt there any sign of Phil Jackson promoting his book there? Disappointing .. (sarcasm off)

  • Jun 14, 20137:41 am
    by Kev Johnson

    Reply

    In my opinion, I think for the Pistons to win, Joe has to find a way to revamp this roster asap. Some how the Pistons brain trust or salary team has to come up with a way to get rid of Stuckey, Charlie V, Maxiell, Jerebko. and Bynum. They should use their draft pick to do a sign and trade somehow to get Andre Iguodala and Josh Smith. Andre can play SG while Josh can play the SF along side Monroe and Drummond. Some how trade the rookies from last year to Sacramento and Phoenix to get Isiah Thomas and Wesley Johnson. Thomas is a good point guard that we could swap Brandon for. Wesley Johnson is a free agent. Give Phoenix a future pick for Beasley to come off the bench with Wesley as a strong 7. Then just fill in the roster with some veterans with small salaries. I promise this plan will work. All the numbers and salaries work. Its a no brainer. Instead of a big 3. We will have a solid good 4. What do you all think?

    • Jun 14, 20139:18 am
      by XstreamINsanity

      Reply

      Josh Smith: No.  Iguodala: Eh.  Thomas: No.  Beasley: No.  Johnson: Why not.  Letting go of Jerebko: No.

      Smith is overpaid (as many NBA players are) and is a better PF than SF, which we’re already set at PF and we wouldn’t want to pay that much for a backup.  Iguodala has great defense, but is aging and his athleticism is going downhill.  Thomas is decent and has a little room to grow, but I want nothing from Sacramento (except for them to draft MCW or Shabazz, passing up on a player we want, so we can draft them – as has happened in a few drafts).  Beasley is too expensive and a head case (I try to avoid head cases).  Johnson isn’t bad if cheap and comes off the bench.  Jerebko wasn’t given a decent shot by Frank and I think he rounded back into form at the end of the season.  Depending on what we do in the FA market, if we don’t pick up a new SF (or draft one), I would like to see Jerebko start at SF which is where he plays mostly on his Euro team.  That also provides a big lineup which as seen in the Heat vs. Pacers series, causes problems for the Heat.  Will it work?  Not sure.  Sadly, Jerebko needs to have a better 3 pointer for it to works as best it could, but I’d like to try it.

    • Jun 14, 20139:34 am
      by tarsier

      Reply

      Wow, these may be the worst ideas I’ve seen yet. I’m no big fan of Knight, but I’d way rather have him than Thomas. Johnson is worthless. Iggy would be great at the right price, but that could be hard to make happen. I love Smoove, but not at SF. Trade away a pick for Beasley? Are you crazy? I’m just going to assume you meant a second rounder. Otherwise, that would be really dumb.

      • Jun 14, 201310:22 am
        by jacob

        Reply

        It looks like Boston is trying to blow shit up. What would it take to get Rondo? I’m guessing stuckey our 2nd rounder and our 1st next year.. oh wait

      • Jun 14, 20132:20 pm
        by Kev Johnson

        Reply

        Okay I understand that no one likes my plan but it makes sense money and talent wise. Isaiah Thomas has the EXACT same stats as Brandon Knight but makes 2 million dollars less. Thomas does not have to start but he is a TRUE PG off our bench for 2 million dollars less than Knight. Michael Beasley is an A-hole but he can score. His 5 million is cheaper than Maxiell and Charlie V. and did I mention he can score off our BENCH. Josh smith is a cry baby but he is getting older. If we can get him for 8 to 10 Million, that would be perfect considering we are paying Stuckey 8 million. Plus Josh is an excellent defender. I know he is a four or PF but in a recent article he stated that he would love to play the three or SF. He can play it because he is still quick enough. Imagine Smith, Drummond and Monroe in the front court. Iggy is getting older also so at least offer him 9 or 10 million and at least see what he says. Dont forget about Thomas Robinson in Houston who they trying to get rid of for DIRT CHEAP to get Dwight Howard. They would take anything about now to free up cap space. He also could come off the bench. Robinson and Wesley Johnson were beast in college but have never really developed because they have not had any chances and they both are CHEAP. we cant do any worse than what we have. I like JJ and Singler but after 3 years JJ can be trade bait for the future along with Singler. After making these trades which are possible, the pistons still have 14 million left to sign Monroe next year or do a sign and trade for Rondo this year which would work also. If not the pistons should draft C.J. Mccollum or Trey Burke if they are available. If not offer Jose Calderon the veteran minimal of 5 million a year.  Now with Monroe If you trade Monroe  PG Calderon PG Rondo SG Iguodala SG Iguodala  SF Smith SF Smith  PF Monroe PF Robinson/Beasley C Drummond C Drummond  This Roster will get Detroit back on the map.

    • Jun 14, 201310:06 am
      by Ryan

      Reply

      As long as we keep the bud and bail money handy.

      Realistically:
      I’d over pay to put Iguodala on this team (as long as we buy low on all other FAs), but 
      Smith is a 4
      Knight>Thomas
      Johnson = 12th man/D-League
      Jerebko still has potentially with a coach who will actually play him, and
      Beasley – self-explanatory

      And no mention of who we draft this year… let alone giving up a 1st-rd’er when we might still need it…

  • Jun 14, 20137:44 am
    by Robb

    Reply

    I have to admit I don’t know much about Cheeks coaching skills but am willing to give him a shot…
     
    What I really want to see is some sort of roster change, I will be very upset if we start the year with all the current players back…Drummand, Monroe and Caulderon would be my starting line up and can build off them, keep some but not all…I want young and fast, not slow and half-court… 

    • Jun 14, 20139:39 am
      by Tony J

      Reply

      “I want young and fast, not slow and half-court… ”

      Calderon is more of a half court set player and 32 years old at the start of the season… Don’t know how he fits that description of what you want.  

  • Jun 14, 20137:45 am
    by Pacman

    Reply

    I’m a little puzzled. Usually you get upset when the Pistons spend time trying to spruik these sort of meaningless things (Palace upgrades for example), try to sugarcoat a bad situation, or make unrealistically high predictions (Brandon Knight is the next Isiah Thomas etc). Now it seems like you are disappointed that the Pistons have taken a more sombre approach? Seems like they can’t win, or you were desperate to have another crack at Cheeks.
     
    Don’t get me wrong, it might have been nice to haer a littl ebit more of a direction, but press conferences don’t translate to the court. I’d rather see the plan coming out on the court rather than in a conference. Trying to build up hype for a franchise through these sort of conferences is ridiculously temporary. To build any sort of sustained hype, the franchise needs to be playing exciting basketball with exciting players, and, ultimately, win games.

  • Jun 14, 20138:02 am
    by Derek AKA Redeemed

    Reply

    A lackluster press conference is of little concern when you have a team that has missed the playoffs for 4 seasons and fired so many coaches in a short span of time.  The fans aren’t stupid.  We do not need a useless rah rah session with high sounding platitudes about what they’re hopefully going to do if the stars align properly.

    Shut up and deliver.  Develop the young talent.  Add talented hard working parts (trade, draft, sign).  Subject parts that do not factor into the development of the team.  Win games.

    I want to see results.

  • Jun 14, 20139:38 am
    by danny

    Reply

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wijTyy5yx3g
     
    I think he is a very strong personality and immature people can’t handle it.  Some people dont agree with his coaching methods but give him a chance.  I think the time he had prior was a bit unfair to say the least. 

  • Jun 14, 20139:51 am
    by REESED

    Reply

    Should have been waiting outside the fedex forum in Memphis and jetted Lionel Hollins to the D…Missed opportunity!

  • Jun 14, 201310:09 am
    by JVS

    Reply

    I have to admit, I’m not super enthused about the move, but the amount of real estate you’re giving/contributing to bashing it is pretty over the top.  Rather than say 100 times that you don’t like it, why not instead lay out some criteria which you feel are reasonable to measure Cheeks through year 1, and refer back to that, rather than destroying the guy 5 times per day for several weeks.  It weakens the credibility of the site if every time you load it, its “things Mo Cheeks did wrong in the past”, “20 reasons why I think this is a horrible move”, “the time Mo locked his keys in his car”…. 

    Definitely no issue with having an opinion on it, but I can’t imagine fans of the team, who are in need of something to engage with want to hear non-stop pessimism and second guessing.
       

    • Jun 14, 201311:11 am
      by Dan Feldman

      Reply

      “It weakens the credibility of the site if every time you load it, its “things Mo Cheeks did wrong in the past”, “20 reasons why I think this is a horrible move”, “the time Mo locked his keys in his car”…. “

      But that’s not what I’m doing. I’m not looking for negatives or positives about Cheeks’ past. I’m looking for telling and/or interesting aspects of his past. I’ve found more negative than positive, but that’s a result of the process, not the end goal.

    • Jun 14, 201312:19 pm
      by GEORGIO

      Reply

      I agree JVS, when you start to criticize the freaking press conference, that’s way over the top. If they had a band and cheerleaders there Dan would have critisized that, you can’t win with this guy.

    • Jun 14, 20131:44 pm
      by G

      Reply

      I felt like Dan was saying the Pistons as an organization blew the press conference, not Cheeks so much. It’s not up to the writers to go “rah rah rah” for the fans, that’s the organization’s job. The writers’ job is to report on what’s happening and try to find meaning in it.

  • Jun 14, 201312:24 pm
    by MrShourite

    Reply

    My comment wasn’t to slight Mo Cheeks, actually given the support of management I think he’ll be good for us and help give us an identity that we’ve been lacking since we’ve traded Chauncey. 

    My comment stemmed from the fact that he mentioned Knight having combo guard skills which was a rude awakening that we’re going into this season facing some similar if not the same issues as previous years. New coach or not.  

  • Jun 17, 201310:22 pm
    by Vince Ellis

    Reply

    Just going through your site and came to this. Couple of things. Dumars and Cheeks said right there in the news conference that he spent a day and night with Gores. One of the few humorous moments of the news conference. Also Dumars was trying to keep that pistons.com stream focused on Cheeks – rightly or wrongly. The streamed part was blah, but Dumars sat around answering questions for another hour or so and he talked a wide range of topics. A lot of it was about his job security and other stuff.

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