February 24, 2012; Orlando FL, USA; Team Chuck coach Maurice Cheeks talks to an official during the second half of the BBVA rising stars challenge at the Amway Center in Orlando. Team Chuck defeated Team Shaq 146-133. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Maurice Cheeks Hired as Pistons Head Coach

Former Sixers head coach Maurice Cheeks has served as an assistant to Scott Brooks for the Oklahoma City Thunder for the last four seasons, but is now officially getting his third chance as an NBA head coach.

Cheeks just edged out the other finalist, former Portland Trail Blazers coach Nate McMillan, for the Detroit Pistons job.

 “After spending some time with Maurice, I was very impressed not only with his basketball knowledge but his communication and leadership skills. We are very excited to have someone of his experience and talent help take this franchise into the future.”

Those are the words of Pistons owner Tom Gores. Gores interviewed McMillan, Larry Drew, Lindsey Hunter, Mike Budenholzer, and Darrell Walker before deciding on Cheeks.

Phil Jackson and Gores have been longtime friends, and Jackson agreed to serve as an consultant during the Pistons’ search for a new head coach to replace Lawrence Frank.

It remains unclear how much of a role Jackson played in the search though. Cheeks was hired before Gores even took the time to interview Jackson’s favored candidate and former assistant, Indiana Pacers assistant coach Brian Shaw.

Cheeks has a 284-286 career record as an NBA head coach, including a 122-147 at the helm of the Sixers. In three trips to the postseason, two with Portland and one with Philadelphia, Cheeks’ teams have yet to advance past the first round.

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