Maurice Cheeks
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Maurice Cheeks

Maurice Cheeks
Maurice Cheeks.jpg
Cheeks in 2011
Oklahoma City Thunder
PositionAssistant coach
LeagueNBA
Personal information
Born (1956-09-08) September 8, 1956 (age 64)
Chicago, Illinois
NationalityAmerican
Listed height6 ft 1 in (1.85 m)
Listed weight180 lb (82 kg)
Career information
High schoolDuSable (Chicago, Illinois)
CollegeWest Texas A&M (1974-1978)
NBA draft1978 / Round: 2 / Pick: 36th overall
Selected by the Philadelphia 76ers
Playing career1978-1993
PositionPoint guard
Number10, 1
Coaching career1993-present
Career history
As player:
1978-1989Philadelphia 76ers
1989-1990San Antonio Spurs
1990-1991New York Knicks
1991-1992Atlanta Hawks
1993New Jersey Nets
As coach:
1993-1994Quad City Thunder (assistant)
1994-2001Philadelphia 76ers (assistant)
2001-2005Portland Trail Blazers
2005-2008Philadelphia 76ers
2009-2013Oklahoma City Thunder (assistant)
2013-2014Detroit Pistons
2015-presentOklahoma City Thunder (assistant)
Career highlights and awards
As player:
Career NBA statistics
Points12,195 (11.1 ppg)
Assists7,392 (6.7 apg)
Steals2,310 (2.1 spg)
Stats at Basketball-Reference.com
Basketball Hall of Fame as player

Maurice Edward Cheeks (born September 8, 1956) is an American former professional basketball player and is currently an assistant coach for the Oklahoma City Thunder of the National Basketball Association (NBA). He has also served as head coach of the Portland Trail Blazers, Philadelphia 76ers and Detroit Pistons. Cheeks was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame as a player in 2018.[1]

Early life

Cheeks was born in Chicago, and attended DuSable High School. He attended West Texas State University from 1974 to 1978. Cheeks was an all-Missouri Valley Conference player for three straight seasons, as he averaged 16.8 points per game and shot nearly 57% for his collegiate career. He is the third leading scorer in WTSU/WTAM history.

Playing career

After college, Cheeks was selected as the 36th pick in the second round of the 1978 NBA draft by the Philadelphia 76ers. He played 15 years as a point guard in the NBA, including 11 with the Philadelphia 76ers, He earned four trips to the NBA All-Star Game, and he helped the 76ers to three trips to the NBA Finals in a four-year span in the early 1980s (1980, 1982, and 1983), including an NBA championship in 1983. While starting at point guard for a Sixers team that at times included stars Julius Erving, Moses Malone, Andrew Toney, and Charles Barkley, Cheeks was well regarded for his team play and defensive skills. He was named to four straight NBA All-Defensive squads from 1983 to 1986, and earned a spot on the second team in 1987.

Philadelphia 76ers (1978-1989)

Cheeks was selected with the 36th pick in the second round of the 1978 NBA Draft by the Philadelphia 76ers. He had his best seasons with the 76ers. At the young age of 22 he gained a notable role on the 76ers, solidifying himself as the starting point guard and earning himself valuable minutes. The 76ers were also in playoff contention for every year that he was on the team except for the 1987-1988 season. By his 5th year in the league, he was selected to his 1st all star appearance and had averaged 12.5 PPG, 6.9 APG, and 2.3 SPG for the 1982-1983 season. The 76ers also had the best season in this era, having a 65-17 record which is the 2nd best season record in the 76ers franchise history. They would go on to win the NBA championship that year, which was Cheeks' first and only championship. He would be an integral part of the 76ers for the rest of his time in Philadelphia, however the 76ers failed to repeat the level of success that they reached in the 1982-1983 season. He would be selected to 3 more all star appearances from 1986-1988. In the 1985-1986 playoffs he averaged a playoff career high 20.8 PPG throughout the whole post season. In the 1986-1987 season he would average a career high 15.6 PPG in what was considered the best season of his career. However the 76ers were no longer elite title contenders and lost in the first round in the 1987 playoffs. The following year they missed the playoffs in what was Cheeks' last all star appearance. Cheeks played one more season for the 76ers; they were back in the playoffs but got swept in the first round by the New York Knicks.

San Antonio Spurs (1989-1990)

In the 1989 offseason the Philadelphia 76ers traded Maurice Cheeks, Chris Welp, and David Wingate to the San Antonio Spurs for Johnny Dawkins and Jay Vincent. At 33 years old, Cheeks was aging and in the twilight of his career but he still played well for the Spurs and averaged 10.9 PPG for his time in San Antonio. He played 50 games for the club and was the starting point guard. However he wasn't able to finish the 1989-1990 season for the Spurs.

New York Knicks (1990-1991)

On February 21, 1990 Cheeks was traded to the New York Knicks for Rod Strickland. Cheeks played the remainder of the season in New York, averaging 7.9 PPG in 31 games for the franchise. The Knicks went 45-37 that year and made the 1990 playoffs, however they lost in the second round 1-4 to the Detroit Pistons. The following year the Knicks missed the playoffs.

Atlanta Hawks (1991-1992)

In the 1991 offseason the New York Knicks traded Maurice Cheeks to the Atlanta Hawks for Tim McCormick and a 1994 1st round draft pick (which later became Charlie Ward). Cheeks' PPG dropped drastically to 4.6 and he was no longer a starting calibre player. He became an unrestricted free agent in the 1992 offseason and didn't re-sign with the Hawks.

New Jersey Nets (1992-1993)

On January 7, 1993 the New Jersey Nets signed Cheeks as a free agent. He averaged a career low 3.6 PPG for the season and he only played 35 games for the franchise. The Nets reached the playoffs but lost in the first round 2-3 to the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Retirement

After the season ended Cheeks became a free agent but never played in the NBA again. At 36 years old he retired from the NBA.

Maurice Cheeks was inducted into the 2018 Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame

In NBA history, Cheeks ranks fifth in steals and eleventh in assists. Upon his retirement from the NBA in 1993, he was the NBA all-time leader in steals and fifth in assists.[2] He averaged 11.7 points and over 2 steals per game for his career. In his rookie year, Cheeks averaged 4.1 steals per game in the 1979 NBA Playoffs, an NBA record for one playoff run.[3]

Coaching career

After retirement, Cheeks spent one year coaching for the Continental Basketball Association's Quad City Thunder,[4] before becoming the 76ers assistant head coach in 1994. He coached under head coaches John Lucas (1994-96), Johnny Davis (1996-97), and Larry Brown, and he was an instrumental part of the Philadelphia team that reached the 2001 NBA Finals. In 2001, he was hired as Portland Trail Blazers head coach. He led the team to two playoff berths in four years as coach, but could not get past the first round. He was fired after a poor start to the 2004-05 campaign.

On April 25, 2003, during a game between the Trail Blazers and the Dallas Mavericks, Cheeks aided 13-year-old Natalie Gilbert in singing the American national anthem. After Gilbert forgot the words at "At the twilight's last gleaming", Cheeks rushed over to help her and they finished it together, as the entire Rose Garden Arena crowd sang with them. Cheeks and Gilbert received a standing ovation after the song was over.[5]

In 2005, Cheeks was named as head coach of the 76ers. Cheeks was popular among Sixers fans because of his eleven-year tenure with the Sixers, during which he helped guide the Sixers to the 1983 NBA championship. The move was also praised by Sixers star Allen Iverson, who worked with Cheeks during his run as Sixers' Assistant Head Coach.[6]

However, he missed the playoffs in each of his first two seasons. Frustrations began to grow with Sixers veterans Allen Iverson and Chris Webber, who were not happy with the team's direction. During the 2006-07 season, Iverson would be traded to the Nuggets and Webber would be released, leaving Cheeks with one of the youngest teams in the NBA. On February 20, 2007, the 76ers extended Cheeks' contract one year despite his losing record as coach.

At the beginning of the 2007-08 season, expectations were low and the 76ers were picked to finish last in the Conference by many prognosticators.[7] However, the Sixers clinched a playoff berth with a win over the Atlanta Hawks on April 4, 2008.[8] It was their first postseason appearance since 2005, as well as the first in the post-Iverson era. However, they were eliminated by the Detroit Pistons, 4-2. Even with this elimination, many fans considered this to be a successful season, considering that the Sixers were 12 games under .500 in early February and went on to have a 21-7 run that led them to the playoffs.[9]

The Sixers started out the 2008-09 NBA season 9-14, despite their signing of Elton Brand and re-signing of Andre Iguodala during the offseason. Due to their slow start, the 76ers fired Cheeks on December 13, 2008.[10]

On August 14, 2009, he was hired as an assistant coach for the Oklahoma City Thunder.[11]

On June 10, 2013, Cheeks agreed to become the head coach of the Detroit Pistons.[12] On February 9, 2014, the Detroit Pistons relieved him of his head coaching duties and replaced him with John Loyer on an interim basis for the remainder of the season.[13] The move came after owner Tom Gores suggested that the Pistons were "better than our record" and weren't playing "at their maximum"-a veiled criticism of Cheeks.[14]

On June 29, 2015, Cheeks returned to the Thunder as an assistant coach.[15]

Honors and awards

On September 7, 2018, Cheeks was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame as a player.[16]

NBA career statistics

Regular season

Year Team GP GS MPG FG% 3P% FT% RPG APG SPG BPG PPG
1978-79 Philadelphia 82 - 29.4 .510 - .721 3.1 5.3 2.1 0.1 8.4
1979-80 Philadelphia 79 - 33.2 .540 .444 .779 3.5 7.0 2.3 0.4 11.4
1980-81 Philadelphia 81 - 29.8 .534 .375 .787 3.0 6.9 2.4 0.5 9.4
1981-82 Philadelphia 79 79 31.6 .521 .273 .777 3.1 8.4 2.6 0.4 11.2
1982-83+ Philadelphia 79 79 31.2 .542 .167 .754 2.6 6.9 2.3 0.4 12.5
1983-84 Philadelphia 75 75 33.3 .550 .400 .733 2.7 6.4 2.3 0.3 12.7
1984-85 Philadelphia 78 78 33.5 .570 .231 .879 2.8 6.4 2.2 0.3 13.1
1985-86 Philadelphia 82 82 39.9 .537 .235 .842 2.9 9.2 2.5 0.3 15.4
1986-87 Philadelphia 68 68 38.6 .527 .235 .777 3.2 7.9 2.6 0.2 15.6
1987-88 Philadelphia 79 79 36.3 .495 .136 .825 3.2 8.0 2.1 0.3 13.7
1988-89 Philadelphia 71 70 32.4 .483 .077 .774 2.6 7.8 1.5 0.2 11.6
1989-90 San Antonio 50 49 35.3 .478 .111 .832 3.3 6.0 1.6 0.1 10.9
1989-90 New York 31 13 24.3 .579 .429 .877 2.4 4.9 1.4 0.2 7.9
1990-91 New York 76 64 28.3 .499 .250 .814 2.3 5.7 1.7 0.1 7.8
1991-92 Atlanta 56 0 19.4 .462 .500 .605 1.7 3.3 1.5 0.0 4.6
1992-93 New Jersey 35 0 14.6 .548 .000 .889 1.2 3.1 0.9 0.1 3.6
Career 1101 736 31.6 .523 .255 .793 2.8 6.7 2.1 0.3 11.1
All-Star 4 1 11.0 .438 - 1.000 0.8 1.0 0.8 0.0 4.0

Playoffs

Year Team GP GS MPG FG% 3P% FT% RPG APG SPG BPG PPG
1979 Philadelphia 9 - 36.7 .545 - .661 3.9 7.0 4.1 0.4 18.8
1980 Philadelphia 18 - 37.5 .511 .200 .707 4.1 6.2 2.5 0.2 11.6
1981 Philadelphia 16 - 32.1 .544 .000 .762 3.2 7.3 2.5 0.8 10.5
1982 Philadelphia 21 - 36.4 .472 .111 .769 3.0 8.2 2.3 0.3 14.3
1983+ Philadelphia 13 - 37.2 .503 .500 .703 3.0 7.0 2.0 0.2 16.3
1984 Philadelphia 5 - 34.2 .522 .000 .867 2.4 3.8 2.6 0.0 16.6
1985 Philadelphia 13 13 37.2 .529 .000 .857 3.5 5.2 2.4 0.4 15.2
1986 Philadelphia 12 12 43.3 .516 .000 .849 4.7 7.1 1.1 0.3 20.8
1987 Philadelphia 5 5 42.0 .530 .000 .857 2.6 8.8 1.8 0.8 17.6
1989 Philadelphia 3 3 42.7 .512 .000 .846 3.7 13.0 2.3 0.3 17.7
1990 New York 10 10 38.8 .481 .000 .903 3.9 8.5 1.7 0.2 12.8
1991 New York 3 3 33.7 .609 .333 .500 3.0 5.3 1.0 0.3 10.0
1993 New Jersey 5 0 16.4 .478 - .000 1.2 2.8 1.2 0.2 4.4
Career 133 46 36.5 .512 .098 .777 3.4 6.9 2.2 0.3 14.4

Head coaching record

Team Year G W L W-L% Finish PG PW PL PW-L% Result
Portland 2001-02 82 49 33 .598 3rd in Pacific 3 0 3 .000 Lost in First round
Portland 2002-03 82 50 32 .610 3rd in Pacific 7 3 4 .429 Lost in First round
Portland 2003-04 82 41 41 .500 3rd in Pacific -- -- -- -- Missed Playoffs
Portland 2004-05 55 22 33 .400 (fired) -- -- -- -- --
Philadelphia 2005-06 82 38 44 .463 2nd in Atlantic -- -- -- -- Missed Playoffs
Philadelphia 2006-07 82 35 47 .427 3rd in Atlantic -- -- -- -- Missed Playoffs
Philadelphia 2007-08 82 40 42 .488 3rd in Atlantic 6 2 4 .333 Lost in First round
Philadelphia 2008-09 23 9 14 .391 (fired) -- -- -- -- --
Detroit 2013-14 50 21 29 .420 (fired) -- -- -- -- --
Career 620 305 315 .492 16 5 11 .313

See also

References

  1. ^ "The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame :: Maurice Cheeks". www.hoophall.com. Retrieved 2020.
  2. ^ "Philadelphia 76ers News Headlines". Retrieved 2016.
  3. ^ "Player Season Finder". Retrieved 2018.
  4. ^ Cooper, Craig (March 27, 1994). "From the archives: 'Welcome to the CBA, Cheeks'". Quad City Times. Retrieved 2019.
  5. ^ Shining moment for Cheeks and 13-year-old girl made us proud.. Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved on June 20, 2009
  6. ^ [1][dead link]
  7. ^ "NBA.com - 2007-08 Season Preview: Philadelphia 76ers". Archived from the original on June 1, 2015. Retrieved 2016.
  8. ^ "Philadelphia 76ers News Headlines". Archived from the original on January 9, 2016. Retrieved 2016.
  9. ^ "NBA.com Sixers Hold Off Hawks, Clinch Playoff Spot". Retrieved 2016.
  10. ^ "Sixers fire Cheeks after 9-14 start". December 14, 2008. Retrieved 2016.
  11. ^ Maurice Cheeks Coming To OKC | Thunder Rumblings Archived July 10, 2012, at Archive.today
  12. ^ "Detroit Pistons Name Maurice Cheeks Head Coach". NBA.com. Turner Sports Interactive, Inc. June 10, 2013. Retrieved 2013.
  13. ^ "Detroit Pistons Relieve Maurice Cheeks of Head Coaching Duties". NBA.com. Turner Sports Interactive, Inc. February 9, 2014. Retrieved 2014.
  14. ^ David Mayo (February 9, 2014). "Maurice Cheeks' firing forewarned by Pistons owner Tom Gores, who was right". MLive.
  15. ^ "Thunder Announces Coaching Staff". NBA.com. June 29, 2015. Retrieved 2015.
  16. ^ "Former 76ers star Maurice Cheeks makes tearful entry to basketball hall of fame". inquirer.com. September 7, 2018.

External links


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