AUBURN HILLS, Mich. – Detroit Pistons President of Basketball Operations Joe Dumars announced today that the club has named Maurice Cheeks as head coach, signing him to a multi-year contract. Per team policy, terms of the agreement were not disclosed. Cheeks brings more than 30-plus years of NBA experience to the job and becomes the 29th head coach in Detroit franchise history. He will be formally introduced to the Detroit media later this week.
“We’re pleased to welcome Maurice Cheeks to the Pistons organization,” Dumars said. “The leadership and player development qualities he brings as a former player and coach blends nicely with the roster we are building for the future. He’s won an NBA championship, coached in two NBA Finals as an assistant coach and mentored some of the top young players in the NBA.”
“After spending some time with Maurice, I was very impressed not only with his basketball knowledge but his communication and leadership skills,” said Pistons owner Tom Gores. “We are very excited to have someone of his experience and talent help take this franchise into the future.”
Cheeks joins the Pistons after serving four years as an assistant coach with Oklahoma City, where he helped guide the Thunder to a 212-100 (.707) record, four playoff appearances and an NBA Finals appearance in 2012.
The 56-year-old Chicago native served as head coach of the Portland Trail Blazers from 2001-05 recording a 162-139 (.538) regular-season record, the fourth-highest win total in Blazers coaching history. His Portland teams made consecutive playoff appearances in 2001 and 2002 and posted records of .500 or better three times, including a 50-32 mark in 2002-03 which tied for second in the Pacific Division. Portland’s defense ranked in the top-10 in points allowed and steals in both 2001-02 and 2002-03.
Cheeks was named head coach of the Philadelphia 76ers in 2005 and led the Sixers to a 122-147 (.454) record in three-plus seasons. He led the team to the playoffs in 2008, marking the club’s first postseason appearance in three years. The 76ers were 12 games under .500 in early February that season and improved to 21-7 the remainder of the year to clinch a playoff berth. Cheeks owns a career record of 284-286 (.498) in 570 games as an NBA head coach.
Prior to his head coaching stints, Cheeks spent seven seasons as an assistant coach with the 76ers serving under John Lucas (1994-96), Johnny Davis (1996-97) and former Pistons’ head coach Larry Brown (1997-2001). As a member of Philadelphia’s 2000-01 staff under Brown, he helped guide the club to a 56-26 (.683) record and a spot in the NBA Finals. Cheeks began his coaching career with the Quad City Thunder of the Continental Basketball Association. During his only season with Quad City (1993-94), he helped guide the club to the CBA Championship.
A 15-year NBA veteran (11 with Philadelphia), Cheeks was a key member of the 76ers’ 1983 NBA Championship team. He was named to the NBA All-Defensive Team five times, which included four first-team honors and one second-team honor. A four-time NBA All-Star, Cheeks averaged 11.1 points, 2.8 rebounds, 6.7 assists and 2.1 steals while shooting 52% from the field in 1,101 career games. He enjoyed his best year during the 1985-86 season when he averaged 15.4 points and a career-high 9.2 assists. Drafted 36th overall in the 1978 NBA Draft, Cheeks currently ranks 11th all-time in NBA history in assists (7,392) and fifth all-time in steals (2,310). His #10 jersey was retired by the 76ers in 1995.