The Pistons terminated head coach Maurice Cheeks Sunday, a 21-29 mark this season apparently not mollifying owner Tom Gores, who told reporters, “our record does not reflect our talent.” In the view of the Detroit Free Press’ Drew Sharp, “ it was only a matter of time before the Pistons served up another head coaching sacrifice under the guise of demanding better performance…but at some point, it’s less about the coach and more about the culture.”
Joe Dumars helped create this poisonous culture. Instead of elevating assistant coach John Loyer to interim head coach, Gores should have put Dumars on the bench for the remainder of the season. Instead of entrusting him with the responsibility of finding the next guy capable of creating a more compatible coach-player environment, put him directly in the line of fire and see if he can arrive at a solution there. Making Dumars coach this mess would make more sense than putting him in charge of yet another head coaching search.
There’s talent. There isn’t a team. There are pieces that can’t properly mesh together until additional roster moves are made. But that was more than evident last summer. Yet Gores basically delivered a playoffs-or-else ultimatum following last season when he cut loose Cheeks’ predecessor, Lawrence Frank. That was the impetus for bringing in a more experienced point guard in Brandon Jennings, using the ninth overall selection in last summer’s draft on an athletic wing in Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and committing $54 million to Josh Smith, who’s spend too much time this season playing out of position at small forward.