Pistons fire Mo Cheeks

Writing Pistons articles is great, all I have to do is copy and paste the same opening line for any article over the past 5 years. And here it is…

The Pistons are an absolute disaster.

If you’ve been unable to catch a game this season, let me fill you in. Every single offseason move backfired. Josh Smith is having one of the most embarrassing offensive seasons in history and continues playing like he’s completely oblivious to it. Brandon Jennings is the same herky-jerky streetballer he was in Milwaukee and it makes running an offense through him impossible. Chauncey Billups, when healthy, has shown the exact upside a 37-year old coming off a torn Achilles can be predicted to have (unless your name is Joe Dumars) and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope has more last names than memorable moments.

But the Pistons made the first of many much needed moves today in firing head coach Mo “Butt” Cheeks. Since being hired he has shown an inability to corral player’s terrible tendencies (Josh Smith’s shooting, Brandon Jenning’s everything) and has been unable to make his 3-Bigs lineups work. On both ends of the court the team has the organization of a dumpster fire (but without the entertainment). The only upside has been the growth of Andre Drummond but unfortunately it’s been counteracted by the plateauing of Greg Monroe’s game.

So how can the Pistons be fixed? Actually, scratch that, “fixed” is such a strong word. How can the Pistons push the 10,000 feet of garbage piled on top of their future and gain some room to breathe? That’s better

1. Joe Dumars has to go.

I know this, you know this, every other fan knows this. Even Joe knows this. I guarantee he cackles like the Wicked Witch of the West every time he gets a paycheck. In fact it’s so obvious that he needs to go, I’m not going to waste any more words on it.

2. The team needs to move back to the city of Detroit.

Don’t get me wrong, the Palace is a nice venue, but real estate is all about location, location, location. Auburn Hills sucks. Why would I drive out to Auburn Hills to watch a game when there is nothing to do after wards? Their only other attraction is Great Lakes Crossing and since I’m not an angsty teen, shopping malls aren’t a huge draw to me. I know that moving cities involves actually having a stadium to move to, but sometime in the next decade the Detroit Pistons need to start playing in, ya know, Detroit.

3. Move Josh Smith.

This might seem impossible considering the desperation of the team, the historical ineptitude of his current season and his long history of non-success but there is one place where I believe we could dump him. Try to guess. What team is more desperate than the Pistons? What team’s management has a hole in their heart only a “do-it-all” wing player could fill? The Cleveland Cavaliers! C’mon, tell me that if we replaced Josh Smith’s headband with one twice as wide that Dan Gilbert couldn’t talk himself into a trade. And here’s how it could work. The Cavs are already reshopping Luol Deng (I hope they kept the receipt) because they know a consummate professional whose main goal is winning isn’t going to resign with them. So they trade Deng to the Pistons for Josh Smith and KCP. The Cavs get someone more talented than they will realistically get from free agency AND a young shooting guard who has shown some defensive upside and is willing to play off the ball. This frees them to trade Dion Waiters (who is never going to succeed in that environment) and still be able to say they have youth and potential at that position. The Pistons just let Deng go at season’s end and start over with that money. If it is impossible to get rid of him, just amnesty him. We will go nowhere with Smith as a go-to player and veteran leader on this team. Just ask Atlanta.

4. Sign Lionel Hollins as head coach.

Despite the bleak outlook on the team there is still a lot of young potential here. And a whole lot of undisciplined basketball being played. Hollins brings a much needed disciplinary, no nonsense style and demeanor this team needs. Hollins’ defense in Memphis was one of the most suffocating in recent memory. There’s no reason why a team with a legitimate, athletic rim protector and an elite wing defender (whether that’s Smith or Deng) should have this porous of an interior defense.

Until some major moves are made there is going to be a whole lot of mediocrity and wasted potential in the near future.

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