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Playoff Push: Maurice Cheeks

What is the No. 1 thing Maurice Cheeks can do to step up and help the Pistons make the playoffs?

Identify the optimal rotation – quickly

This is the whole season. The Pistons have talent. It’s just spread across many players, the most-talented of whom have overlapping skills. Cheeks doesn’t have an easy job, but it’s an extremely important one. I think the Pistons will make the playoffs, but I’m totally convinced they have a playoff-caliber rotation somewhere within the roster. It’s just a matter of how quickly Cheeks identifies it and how many games the Pistons lose before he does.

The teams that make the playoffs aren’t necessarily the ones that play the best. They’re the ones that have the best records. If the Pistons lose too much early before they fine the right lineup, their early-season record could keep them from the postseason.

-Dan Feldman

Don’t get comfortable

It is not easy to coach for Joe Dumars. Three straight coaches – with far less talented teams – have each had two seasons or fewer and been shown the door. Cheeks is a retread coach without much success elsewhere and Dumars is an executive whose seat is allegedly one of the leagues’ hottest. The Pistons spent significantly to upgrade their roster in the offseason and they have a flashy, still-newish owner who is antsy to have a playoff team. It’s not necessarily fair to Cheeks, but if the team starts poorly, he may have even more limited time than his predecessors to right the ship.

-Patrick Hayes

Don’t over-manage

Cheeks might not be a coaching genius, but he doesn’t need to do anything crazy to succeed. He has pieces, albeit ones that might not fit perfectly, but he has serious talent — something the Lawrence Frank and John Kuester eras lacked. In childhood terms, Joe Dumars has dumped a nice pile of Legos in Cheeks’ lap, now it’s Cheeks’ job to turn that pile of mismatched pieces into something good. He doesn’t need to create any of these this year, but a well-put-together boat should have the Pistons floating into the playoffs.

-Brady Fredericksen

2 Comments

  • Oct 30, 20131:55 pm
    by jerrific

    Reply

    It’s unfair to pass judgement before we see what cheeks can do wth the team, but I feel like he’s the rick carlile (carslile? Idk I’m too lazy to google it) of this era in pistons basketball. He’ll keep the team afloat until we’re in position to really make a splash in the postseason, but ultimately be let go for a top tier coach. Personally, I would love to see the Pistons pick up George Karl. He did great things with a denver team that surpassed literally everyone’s expectations last season, I was shocked when they let him go.

  • Oct 30, 20134:29 pm
    by swish22

    Reply

      Hopefully Maurice has learned from his past mistakes.   I’m thinking positively and hoping he can give some of the younger guys a shot on the perimeter knowing there will be plenty of growing pains and I also hope he simply tells Joe D that Villanueva and
    Stuckey are not worthy of being in the rotation on this squad that has certainly improved.  Looking forward to the opener.  Go Pistons it’s time for a return to the playoffs and the emergence of the next Bill Russell!!!

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