February 9, 2014 at 5:37 pm

Terry Foster

Time might finally be right for Pistons to give Bill Laimbeer a chance

Auburn Hills Some fans might think the Pistons pulled the trigger too soon on coach Maurice Cheeks.

But the bottom line is it was the right move. Even though the Pistons showed signs of life recently, Cheeks was not the long-term solution for the Pistons. The team fired him at a time when things appear to be settling down.

They own a modest two-game winning streak and have won their last four home games. But Cheeks did not mesh with players outside of point guard Brandon Jennings, who has been in intense film sessions with Cheeks.

The goal was to make Jennings a better point guard. That seemed to be working in the short term.

I (would) like to thank Mo Cheeks for everything, Jennings wrote on Twitter. Thank you for helping me become a better person and player. Im still learning.

Cheeks often appeared lost as Pistons coach as the team spiraled out of control. The team constantly faltered in the second half of games, and he quarreled with players Josh Smith and Will Bynum.

The Pistons have not settled on a permanent replacement, but I have a name for Joe Dumars who has failed with a number of coaches to consider.

Why not turn to his old buddy and former teammate Bill Laimbeer? I keep hearing how Laimbeer is a bad fit. Really? And John Kuester, Michael Curry and Lawrence Frank fit well?

Laimbeer is smart and knows basketball. He currently is coach and general manager of the WNBAs New York Liberty.

Names you'll hear

Fans already have made an online push for the Pistons to hire Rasheed Wallace, who is currently on the staff as an assistant coach. Wallace is the most vocal of the assistant coaches and forcefully pushed for better communication on defense.

Lionel Hollins, who has coached in Vancouver and Memphis, also can be considered a candidate. He also played briefly with Detroit in the early 1980s.

The Pistons became a coaching graveyard a long time ago. Dumars is about to hire his ninth coach since 2000. The average Pistons coaching tenure under Dumars is 140.5 games. Cheeks got the shortest leash, with just 50 games.

The quickest firing before Cheeks was Curry, who lasted 82 games.

It is easy to dump on Cheeks now, but this is not all his fault. He was in charge of a team that did not have much chemistry. He was given a front line of Andre Drummond, Greg Monroe and Smith. They all are inside players, but Smith was forced to the outside, where he became a brick-laying jump shooter.

He is more effective inside which Cheeks recognized. Although he started all three, he mostly played two of the three players during the rest of the game. Cheeks was trying to figure out this roster and he admitted it was a learning process for him.

Detroit underachieved this season but still is in good position to make the playoffs. They are just one-half game behind Charlotte for the final playoff spot.

And owner Tom Gores has spoken: playoffs ... or else.



Bill Lamimbeer won two NBA championships as a player with the Pistons. / Bill Kostroun / Associated Press
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