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.
The Detroit Tigers carry some of the best bats in the majors, and two of their sluggers will appear on the cover of Sports Illustrated.
Miguel Cabrera is still in Triple Crown form hitting a .363 average with 18 home runs and 69 RBIs. Clean-up hitter Prince Fielder is doing plenty of damage as well batting for a .282 average along with 12 home runs and 51 RBIs.
This dynamic duo will grace the cover as Detroit's "Bash Bros". Click here to view the photo.
You've seen the photos, now here is the video footage from the Detroit Lions' celebirty softball game this past Saturday. Plenty of interviews, and highlight entertainment all caught here. Hope you enjoy!
Detroit Lions' captains Stephen Tulloch and Nate Burleson hosted their second annual softball game on Saturday. The chartiable event took place at King Boring Field in Dearborn and sponsored by Lady Jane's.
Team Burleson dominated the competition by first winning the Home Run Derby and the matchup with Team Tulloch by a 28-21 victory.
Both teams were divided by offense and defense. Players like Dominic Raiola, Kris Durham, and Jason Fox represented Team Burleson while Willie Young, Ziggy Ansah, Glover Quin and others carried the torch for Team Tulloch.
Click the link below to view photos from the event.
Detroit Tiger's Prince Fielder's new MLB.com commercial speaks for itself. Check out what motivates the All-Star first baseman.
The public perception of veteran guard Rodney Stuckey has such a negative ring now. He's been voted as overrated and one of the biggest scapegoats for why the Detroit Pistons are losing and repairing the wounds of the past few seasons.
Along with 100 other reasons and people associated with the team, it's easy to point at Stuckey as a problem. Being drafted as a mid-first rounder in 2007, expectations were rightfully placed high and he hasn't been the player fans hoped for. Stuckey has now found himself coming off the bench, but lost in the team's transition during their rebuilding stage.
After watching his reign thus far and seeing the path of the team's makeup, it's time to stop blaming and pointing the finger at Rodney Stuckey. Personally it seems the Pistons have mishandled the guard over him not performing and reaching his potential.
Not only does the slander need to cease, but Detroit is dangerously threatening to repeat history with another guard.
This isn't the 2003 Draft where the Pistons passed on elite caliber players like Chris Bosh, Dwyane Wade and Carmelo Anthony. As the 2004 championship core was on the decline, new building blocks were needed and Stuckey was a nice addition at the time.
Detroit drafted Stuckey as a combo-guard out of Eastern Washington University. At 6-5 210, he excelled as a scorer off the dribble and at the rim. His jump shot as well as passing were both skills that needed work and improvement. Stuckey's talent and ability was challenged by little collegiate experience and competition playing in the Big Sky Conference.
General manager Joe Dumars selected Stuckey with the idea of making him the next great Pistons' point guard. Learning behind veteran and 2004 NBA Finals MVP Chauncey Billups was a good recipe for the growth of their young draft pick. But the sudden departure of Billups put Stuckey and the Pistons on the hot seat.
Detroit swapped their former floor general for former All-Star Allen Iverson, which turned out to be disastrous and the beginning of the Pistons' decline. Detroit believed Iverson's "instant offense" style of play would mesh with the team-oriented system. The team finished the 2008-09 regular season 39-43 and were swept by the Cleveland Cavaliers in the first round of the playoffs.
The Iverson acquisition had the lineup and team in disarray. Rip Hamilton and Iverson each uncomfortably spent time as the team's sixth man. Stuckey took over as the young starting point guard of a team full of veterans. There were more flashes shown as an attacking scorer instead of a facilitator. He displayed an elite first-step off the dribble and even had a 40-point career high game against Derrick Rose and the Chicago Bulls.
The Pistons could've used Stuckey better as a shooting guard but weren't able to make that transition. The team was playing with a roster back court of veteran guards like Iverson, Richard Hamilton, Aaron Afflalo. Year-by-year that didn't change as the Pistons continued bringing in combo guards like Ben Gordon, Will Bynum. Detroit was stuck with their original philosophy that continued to backfire, making Rodney Stuckey the franchise point guard. Stuckey was a good prospect but not as a point guard.
With the inability of switching his position, each Piston's coach attempted to establish Stuckey as a point guard eventually costing them their jobs. Former head coaches Michael Curry and John Kuester both produced losing records with Stuckey as the floor general.
Most recent Detroit coach Lawrence Frank planned to shift Stuckey to shooting guard with hopes he would "live in the paint". The switch didn't work out well as young guard Brandon Knight struggled to grasp the position of running point. His offensive game was up-and-down, but his turnovers were consistently too high with 2.6 his rookie year then 2.7 the following season.
As Knight struggled, Frank eventually took the ball out of his hand moving Stuckey back to the same position he never excelled at. The Pistons finished the lockout plagued season 25-41.
This past season to clear up space and boost the guard depth, Dumars moved long-time Piston Tayshaun Prince to the Memphis Grizzlies in a three-team deal bringing guard Jose Calderon to Detroit. The trade moved Knight to shooting guard and Stuckey coming off the bench backing up either guard.
The numbers and averages of Rodney Stuckey have never been bad, but never what he was capable of. He averaged a career high 16.6 points in 09-10 but never averaged more than 5.2 assists in 10-11. Despite not being the best point guard however, he never managed more than 2.2 turnovers a year. The majority of frustration with Stuckey however roots to his shooting consistency. He's been a 42-percent shooter his whole career. His jumper never got much better from when he entered the draft shooting 28-percent behind the arc for his career average.
Stuckey wasn't a project player and certainly didn't come with a package of versatility. He made his name known in the draft as a scorer, but hasn't established himself as a consistent threat. Courtesy of incorrect positioning, bad coaching, and a log-jam of guards on the roster, Stuckey didn't develop correctly.
Now, history can possibly repeat itself with the development of Brandon Knight.
Detroit is currently in a challenging place of their offseason with no coach, the No. 8 lottery pick this summer, and plenty of cap space. The Pistons could use additions all over the roster and don't have much gold to choose from in this draft.
Prospect guards like Michael Carter Williams and C.J. McCollum could be potential targets this summer. If either of them are drafted, how will that effect the progression of Knight?
The Pistons need to establish Knight as their young point guard of the future instead of tinkering with him at shooting guard. As a 6-3 189-pound skinny guard, he's not capable enough to defend bigger guards. Knight has already made it clear he doesn't see himself as a two-guard. Unless the Pistons are attempting to deal Knight, they need to stick with him at his natural position.
Veterans Will Bynum and Calderon will be free agents this summer and Stuckey is entering his last year of his contract. With both guard spots realistically open, Knight has to take hold as Detroit's point guard.
As draft classmates like Kyrie Irving and Kemba Walker are budding with their teams, Knight is still a work in progress. He's struggled to take care of the ball in his first two years averaging almost four assists to 2.7 turnovers. His scoring numbers have been unimpressive as well averaging on 13.1 points.
Knight just turned 21 years old in April and is capable of much better. But he'll need the right positioning and pieces around him to help his growth. Luckily he has a blossoming frontcourt duo in center Andre Drummond and forward Greg Monroe. With those foundation pieces set, they all three should progress together.
So as the majority of Detroit has unfortunately written off Rodney Stuckey, don't do the same for Brandon Knight. He's been clowned on for one of the biggest dunks of the year, and fans continue to grow impatient with his slow progression. But you see consistent effort and hopeful glimpses of promise. After only one year of college basketball at Kentucky and two short years at the pro level, it's time for everyone to be patient with Knight. And if the Pistons plan on holding onto their 2011 first-round pick, they must let him grow at his customary position.