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Eric Vincent

NBA Coaching: Jason Kidd vs. Mo Cheeks

 
NBA Coaching: Jason Kidd vs. Mo Cheeks

For the past couple months, the NBA has been a circus for head coaches around the league. Coach of the Year parted ways with the Denver Nuggets despite the honors. Former Los Angeles Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro is searching for employment even after leading his team to a franchise best 56-26 record and it's first division title. Lionel Hollins has faced the same fate despite coaching the Memphis Grizzlies to a franchise record of 56-26 and a deep postseason run.

There are some fresh new beginnings ready to take shape in the league as well. And with that said, it's time to usher in another new era for the next head coach of the Detroit Pistons.

As of this past Monday, the front office finally made a decision on their 29th coach in team history.

Say hello to Maurice Cheeks.

Detroit has been on the hunt for a new coach since firing former leader Lawrence Frank in April. General manager Joe Dumars sounds excited on his new hire with hopes of developing their young talent and building team chemistry. 

However, arguably the most documented coaching hire thus far in the NBA came has come from the Brooklyn Nets. 

After not retaining former coach P.J. Carlesimo, the Nets franchise had creditworthy interests like Karl, Hollins, or TV analyst Jeff Van Gundy. Another popular target was former point guard Jason Kidd. 

Instead of playing it safe with experience and a coaching background, the Nets threw a major curve ball and took a gamble on Kidd reaching a three year deal with the rookie coach

The guts of Brooklyn has stunned many deciding against the decorated options still available. Meanhile the Pistons' hopes of landing a top-tier coach was highly unlikely. Hollins and Karl were unlikely wishes.

They didn't fail signing Cheeks, but his track record doesn't scream instant success. With a young unproven roster and a long term of struggling, the Pistons were forced to gamble with a veteran coach with a less than average track record.

On the other side, Kidd has a decorated NBA career but zero coaching experience. He's now acquiring a roster of highly-paid veterans coming off a playoff berth. 

With their debuts around the corner, is the pressure of success heavier for Mo Cheeks or Jason Kidd?

Team owner Tom Gores expressed his disappointment in last season's struggles.The Pistons finished their 2012-13 season 29-53 with no postseason appearance and a blunder of a roster. The budding duo of Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond are promising building blocks, but players like Brandon Knight and Kyle Singler need more development with their game.

After firing Lawrence Frank and Joe Dumars on a burning hot seat, the Pistons need to show some signs of progress. Detroit's window could close in the next couple of years if they strike out with Knight as a draft pick and Cheeks as a head coach.

What's been failed to realize with Detroit's past coaches is it's more of an issue with the roster than the coaching staff. Frank wasn't the worst coach, but couldn't work out magic with the low-rate talent assembled by Dumars. Detroit will be in the hunt for key free agents this offseason and hopefully a game-changer in the draft.

With this turnaround however, the Pistons are sitting with a No. 8 lottery pick this summer and about $30 million to spend. More important than marketability and a coach, the team is in dire need of depth and players. If the front office can align a quality lineup for Mo Cheeks, the transition to success should move smoothly.

Unfortunately, Detroit is sitting in an impatient position where results are being demanded. The Pistons can't afford many more mistakes and needed some of their draft picks and acquisitions to start paying off. Now is the time for the proper development of the young talent to take shape.

Dumars credited Cheeks on his ability to develop young talent, and the new Pistons' coach has already made an impression on some of those players. Given his championship pedigree and experience, Cheeks has plenty to offer. After 15 years as a point guard, a four-time All Star, and a 1983 NBA champion with the Philadelphia 76ers, Cheeks has plenty credibility as a player.

Unfortunately, that doesn't translate to his coaching with a lifetime record of 284-286. He lead the Philadelphia 76ers to two playoff berths during his reign, and has plenty of pressure to revive the Pistons' postseason success.

Cheeks is shouldering part of the responsibility of reviving this struggling franchise.

On the other side, Jason Kidd is working with a boat load of experienced talent. The biggest issue of the Brookyn Nets is depth and their ability to play together. Not much rebuilding or restructuring with the Nets is necessary but can this immediate player-turned-coach keep the egos of Brooklyn in tact?.

The Nets are coming off an NBA classic seven-game-series against the Chicago Bulls.The back and forth matchup resulted in the defeat of Brooklyn, but they're still not far from their championship goal. In a weak Eastern Conference, the Nets should maintain a good term of success under Kidd.

It will be interesting to see how Kidd meshes with his franchise point guard Deron Williams. Williams clashed often with former legendary Utah Jazz coach Jerry Sloan, and the resignation of Sloan resulted after a major clash with his point guard. Will a mutual respect and relationship form between Kidd and Williams?

The honeymoon is off to a good start after Williams co-signed his new coach calling him a "risk we can grow with". Kidd being the Hall-of-Fame worthy guard he was, he should have plenty of influence on the game of Brooklyn's floor general.

Being Kidd's first year as a coach, the experienced talent on the roster and the likeliness of assembling a quality coaching staff, the Nets' gamble can come with patience as long as next year's result doesn't fall back from last season. This relatively new franchise's progression will come at a different rate.

Meanwhile, the Pistons need immediate results from Mo Cheeks. Both coaches have plenty to prove, but Cheeks is on his third run as an NBA head coach. Now is the time to establish himself as a credible coach. If not, the Pistons will be hitting the reset button yet again.

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