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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.
Cheeks in 2011
|Oklahoma City Thunder|
|Born||September 8, 1956|
|Listed height||6 ft 1 in (1.85 m)|
|Listed weight||180 lb (82 kg)|
|High school||DuSable (Chicago, Illinois)|
|College||West Texas A&M (1974–1978)|
|NBA draft||1978 / Round: 2 / Pick: 36th overall|
|Selected by the Philadelphia 76ers|
|1989–1990||San Antonio Spurs|
|1990–1991||New York Knicks|
|1993||New Jersey Nets|
|1993–1994||Quad City Thunder (assistant)|
|1994–2001||Philadelphia 76ers (assistant)|
|2001–2005||Portland Trail Blazers|
|2009–2013||Oklahoma City Thunder (assistant)|
|2015–present||Oklahoma City Thunder (assistant)|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Career NBA statistics|
|Points||12,195 (11.1 ppg)|
|Assists||7,392 (6.7 apg)|
|Steals||2,310 (2.1 spg)|
|Stats at Basketball-Reference.com|
|Basketball Hall of Fame as player|
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.
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.
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. 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.
After retirement, Cheeks spent one year coaching for the Continental Basketball Association’s Quad City Thunder, 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.
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.
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. However, the Sixers clinched a playoff berth with a win over the Atlanta Hawks on April 4, 2008. 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.
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. In a 2015 interview with Sports Illustrated, former Sixers forward Matt Barnes referred to Cheeks as "a dick".
On June 10, 2013, Cheeks agreed to become the head coach of the Detroit Pistons. 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.
On June 29, 2015, Cheeks returned to the Thunder as an assistant coach.
Honors and awardsEdit
On September 7, 2018, Cheeks was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame as a player.
NBA career statisticsEdit
|GP||Games played||GS||Games started||MPG||Minutes per game|
|FG%||Field goal percentage||3P%||3-point field goal percentage||FT%||Free throw percentage|
|RPG||Rebounds per game||APG||Assists per game||SPG||Steals per game|
|BPG||Blocks per game||PPG||Points per game||Bold||Career high|
|†||Denotes seasons in which Cheeks' team won an NBA championship|
Head coaching recordEdit
|Regular season||G||Games coached||W||Games won||L||Games lost||W–L %||Win–loss %|
|Playoffs||PG||Playoff games||PW||Playoff wins||PL||Playoff losses||PW–L %||Playoff win–loss %|
|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|
|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|
- List of National Basketball Association career assists leaders
- List of National Basketball Association career steals leaders
- List of National Basketball Association career playoff assists leaders
- List of National Basketball Association career playoff steals leaders
- List of National Basketball Association players with most assists in a game
- List of National Basketball Association players with most steals in a game
- List of National Basketball Association annual minutes leaders
- "Philadelphia 76ers News Headlines". Retrieved July 26, 2016.
- "Player Season Finder". Retrieved June 27, 2018.
- Cooper, Craig (March 27, 1994). "From the archives: 'Welcome to the CBA, Cheeks'". Quad City Times. Retrieved January 1, 2019.
- Shining moment for Cheeks and 13-year-old girl made us proud.. Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved on June 20, 2009
- [dead link]
- "NBA.com - 2007-08 Season Preview: Philadelphia 76ers". Retrieved July 26, 2016.
- "Philadelphia 76ers News Headlines". Archived from the original on January 9, 2016. Retrieved July 26, 2016.
- "NBA.com Sixers Hold Off Hawks, Clinch Playoff Spot". Retrieved July 26, 2016.
- "Sixers fire Cheeks after 9-14 start". December 14, 2008. Retrieved July 26, 2016.
- Ballard, Chris. "Matt Barnes: The Clippers' polarizing pariah". Retrieved July 26, 2016.
- Maurice Cheeks Coming To OKC | Thunder Rumblings Archived July 10, 2012, at Archive.today
- "Detroit Pistons Name Maurice Cheeks Head Coach". NBA.com. Turner Sports Interactive, Inc. June 10, 2013. Retrieved June 10, 2013.
- "Detroit Pistons Relieve Maurice Cheeks of Head Coaching Duties". NBA.com. Turner Sports Interactive, Inc. February 9, 2014. Retrieved February 9, 2014.
- "Thunder Announces Coaching Staff". NBA.com. June 29, 2015. Retrieved June 29, 2015.
- Career statistics and player information from Basketball-Reference.com