clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Introducing Mo Cheeks: Soundbites from his press conference

Joe Dumars and Mo Cheeks offered plenty of cliches, platitudes and determined promises that players would be accountable, work hard and play the right way. What else were you expecting?

Mo Cheeks, 2004
Mo Cheeks, 2004
Getty Images

As Pistons fans, we've seen more than a few introductory press conferences for coaches the last several years -- and to be perfectly honest, this one sounded like all the rest. It's just how these things go.

Nevertheless, I hoped to transcribe the whole thing for those of you who missed it. Unfortunately, after watching the (choppy) live stream yesterday I can't find an archived video of the entire thing later, so I cobbled together the following quotes from videos posted on the Detroit Free Press, Oakland Press and the team's official YouTube channel.

The Freep's video was the most comprehensive, so I'll embed that here, but the quotes below were aggregated from all three. The more interesting answers came during the question and answer session -- and sadly, I only found three of the answers:

Joe Dumars on the lengthy search

"I'm very, very pleased to introduce Maurice Cheeks as our next coach. It was a very long process, and the reason it was such a long process for us is because we're just committed to trying to get the coaching situation right. And we wanted to make sure that we took our time and went through as many possible scenarios as we could come across, and so it took some time but we feel like we got the right guy for what we're trying to do.

"There's a lot that goes into trying to hire a coach. ... You talk to an ungodly amount of people." -Joe Dumars

"We are committed to trying to get back, we are committed to trying to get our team to perform at the highest level, and we felt like after a long process that Maurice gave us the best chance of doing that.

"There's a lot that goes into trying to hire a coach. You do a tremendous amount of background, you talk to an ungodly amount of people. And the message that just kept coming back with Mo was the ability to connect with people, the ability to have a steady hand everyday, the ability to show up and infuse confidence in his players. And the more and more we talked about it, the more and more we studied it, we felt like this was exactly what we needed.

"So, I'm very pleased with him. I'm pleased with the process and I'm pleased with how we came out of the process, and to be sitting here next to Maurice right now. So with that I'll turn it over to Maurice, but we all welcome Maurice and we're very happy to have him as our coach here.

Mo Cheeks' opening thoughts

"I'm excited to be here. The tradition of the Pistons is something that I've known for a long time. And Joe played while I was playing, and Isiah [Thomas] -- and I just want to get back to the tradition that those guys started ... while they were playing.

"And I'm just looking forward to it. It's a challenge. As you said, it's a long process, because I was leaving a great organization, the Oklahoma City Thunder, so that was a challenge in itself, and something now that I'm looking forward to and I'm looking forward to the challenge and I can't wait to get started.

Cheeks on how his time in OKC prepared him

Question from Keith Langlois: "How do you think the time that you spent as an assistant maybe gave you a new perspective, that maybe will make you better prepared this time around?"

Mo Cheeks: "Well, the time that I spent in Oklahoma was extremely helpful for myself, being under coach [Scott] Brooks, who's extremely, extremely helpful for me, because I learned a lot of things, and some of the things that I didn't do while I was a head coach I learned to do a little bit better being under him.

"So some things I will instill that I learned over there, and some of the things that I did before becoming an assistant in Oklahoma I will keep. But a lot of things I did learn, and [I'll] just put some things from there and some of my own thoughts together I think will be a recipe for success."

Cheeks on learning from his previous stints as a head coach

Vince Ellis: "Looking back at your history in Portland and Philadelphia -- you can make a case that maybe you might not have gotten a fair shake at the end of those tenures there. Do you look at it as negative experiences or ... learning experiences to get you to this point?

"Everything you go through is a learning experience." -Mo Cheeks

Mo Cheeks: "Everything you go through is a learning experience. You got to make your own way. And neither were negative experiences for me. You got to make your own way, and I'm here to make my own way, put my own stamp on this team.

"It has nothing to do with Philadelphia or Portland, it has nothing to do with that. I have to put my own stamp on this team, make it the way I want it to be, make the players play unselfishly and be committed. And I think that's the way you win in this league -- being unselfish and be committed to your team, and you can win games that way.

Cheeks on getting a third chance:

Some guy: "A lot of guys don't get a third chance. Were there times when you wondered if you would? And what did you see in this young franchise that made you think it's the right spot for you?

Mo Cheeks: "Well, a third chance. There are some guys that get third chances -- and I never thought about it in that arena, of not getting a third chance.

"This team has a lot of young talent. ... You got players that just have to be honed." -Mo Cheeks

"I was in a great situation in Oklahoma, under great people, a great organization. So if the opportunity never came along, I still would have been OK, but this team has a lot of young talent. You go across the board, and you got players that just have to be honed, and I think as I look across the team and I see the young players, we have to put our stamp on them.

"I mention 'stamp' earlier, you have to put our stamp on them. And have them take some accountability for the things that are done on the court. And that's the thing that I look forward to, is putting the stamp on the team and having them understand discipline and going out to play night in and night out.

"I had a conversation with [Kim] English yesterday, and I was talking about accountability, and I think being able to do it on a nightly basis, and I think people take that for granted that being able to be successful and playing hard and doing things right on a nightly basis is easy, and it's not easy. I think it comes with commitment, working through practice and working through doing things the right way. And I think as team and season goes along, you'll see that. And hopefully that will result into some wins with this team."

English and Jerebko on respecting Mo:

Kim English: "The respect level is, it's from Day 1. You don't ever have to really listen and feel them out to wonder if they really know -- you know that Mo Cheeks knows what he's talking about, you know that Joe Dumars knows what he's talking about."

Jonas Jerebko: "He told us this morning, me, Khris and Kim were out there shooting. And I had a couple of flip-flops on or something, messing around, and he told us, when you're in there you're going to put in work. So he told us on Day 1 what he wanted. So I definitely respect that."

Joe Dumars: "You guys will see pretty quickly that he commands the room and he commands respect from players. And that's extremely important."

Dumars on Cheeks being a "players coach"

From Vincent Goodwill of the Detroit News:

"I think you have to have a coach that makes a connection with players," Dumars said. "Even in Oklahoma City. I think that’s important. It’s only part of it. When you stand in front of these players, they have to believe in your plan, your vision."

"The fact that he’s Mo Cheeks, that he has a resume as a player and a coach. I can’t tell you it’s been the one issue, but it’s been a part of it."

Cheeks on being worried about Detroit's history with coaches

From Dave Pemberton of the Oakland Press:

Maurice Cheeks was asked if he had any reservations about taking a job with a franchise that has had so much coaching turnover as of late.

“If you thought like that nobody would be coaching,” said Cheeks, who is entering his third head coaching job. “Changes happen in the league every year. It happens every year. You can’t go in and take a job thinking about the negative part. You have to think about the positive part of coaching.

“The positive part of being here and being part of the Pistons organization right now is trying to change some of the young players’ mindset. No way, no how can you go in and a take a job thinking about things that happened before. It’s just not positive. I think the thing that what we have to do is build positively and think positively. A lot of young players, a lot of good young players and if we stay committed to what we want to do we’ll be okay.”

Now your thoughts. Impressed? Bored? Nervous?