After a disappointing 9-14 start to the season, popular coach and former player Maurice Cheeks has been shown the door by the front office:
A source close to the 76ers has confirmed that Sixers head coach Maurice Cheeks has been fired and the interim coach will be Tony DiLeo, who is currently the Senior Vice President and Assistant General Manager.Though it's too early to evaluate this move extensively, I few initial thoughts:
DiLeo will coach tonight's home game against the Washington Wizards and, a source close to the Sixers confirmed that DiLeo will coach the team through the end of the season.
- Cheeks seems like a great guy and I am sorry to see him go. He was obviously a role model to some of the younger Sixers; it will be difficult to replace him.
- The firing is most likely a combination of an unbalanced roster and poor in-game decisions by Cheeks.
- The Cheek legacy will be one left incomplete, full of "what-if's"... 122-147 record, one playoff berth
- DiLeo is a long time fixture in the front office and appears to be an appropriate choice to close out the season.
This from the Inquirer:
But let's discuss, for a second, Maurice Cheeks. Was the 9-14 start his fault? Or is he the fall guy for a poorly constructed roster?The firing follows another disappointing, albeit predictable, loss to LeBron's Cavs. Cleveland won its 11th straight game behind 28 points from King James. Willie Green paced the Sixers with 19 points, Iggy added 16, and Brand punched through 11 points and grabbed 11 boards in his second game back from injury. The Sixers were outgunned from the 3-point arch (6-18 vs. 1-12), turned the ball over more, and lost the free-throw battle. They simply lost to the better team.
Right now, I think it's both. We can't argue with some in-game coaching moves, especially rotations. There were certain games I believe were lost because of misuse of the roster, within the game, (specifically the Atlanta game and the Orlando game). But I also believe the moves Cheeks made in the Detroit Pistons game were perfect. His moves won that game for the Sixers. If you add those numbers, you're left with Cheeks impact being -- about -- neutral. Perhaps he struggled to understand how to reconcile the team's mantra of "we're still run-and-gun," with a roster that doesn't necessarily support that identity. Instead of modifying the identity, he kept plugging away, kept trying to be the team the Sixers were last season, when they made that run to the playoffs. Can you blame him? I guess it doesn't matter what we say, the Sixers organization dropped the blame on him.
To say the least, the Sixers are in trouble. After high expectations coming into the season, this team is lost and searching for an identity. Let's hope DiLeo has some answers.