Joe Dumars' rep is living in the past. The 2003 NBA Executive of the Year has made more questionable decisions over the last few seasons than Miguel. We won't even discuss the Darko Milicic draft. They've also issued more press releases for new head coach hirings than Jay-Z has for new clients. On Wednesday, Dumars hired a retread in Oklahoma City Thunder assistant coach Mo Cheeks, his fifth head coach since 2005. Oddly enough, the Pistons chose Cheeks over Team USA assistant Nate McMillan, widely considered one of the NBA's superior free agent head coaches. Apparently, while dusting off his Executive of the Year award, Dumars found Cheeks' resume underneath. Otherwise it makes this decision inexplicable.
Cheeks was one of Dumars' fiercest Eastern Conference rivals in the '80s, however, his hiring is a head-scratcher. Perhaps the third time is the charm for Cheeks, who has twice taken over fading playoff squads, never advanced past the first round and has a sub-.500 coaching record. However, his 284-286 record may be somewhat deceiving. In his previous jobs, he's been cast as the captain charged to go down with the leaky vessel, while veterans jump ship in life rafts while navigating the leftovers to their watery graves near the bottom of the draft lottery. This is the first time he's been handed the opportunity to take over a squad that's on the rise, instead of one staring into their sunset. However, "rise" is subjective. The Pistons have won fewer than 38 percent of their games since 2009 and the team actually finished with a worse winning percentage in 2013, than they had the prior season.
Dumars has been a part of three NBA championship squads in Detroit and has been given a ton of leeway in the Pistons front office. Since firing Larry Brown after consecutive trips to the NBA Finals, Dumars' executive decision-making has been shoddy at best. Signing Ben Gordon and Charlie Villueneva to a pair of five-year deals worth a combine $90 million was Dumars' rock bottom. Andre Drummond and Greg Monroe provide promise for the Pistons moving forward, but if Cheeks doesn't pan out as Pistons head coach, this may be the last stand for both he and Dumars in their current capacities.