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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.
Philadelphia 76ers (1978-1989)Edit
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)Edit
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)Edit
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)Edit
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)Edit
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.
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. 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.
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. 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.
On June 29, 2015, Cheeks returned to the Thunder as an assistant coach.
Honors and awardsEdit
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|
|†||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
- "The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame :: Maurice Cheeks". www.hoophall.com. Retrieved April 17, 2020.
- "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". Archived from the original on June 1, 2015. 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.
- 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.
- David Mayo (February 9, 2014). "Maurice Cheeks' firing forewarned by Pistons owner Tom Gores, who was right". MLive.
- "Thunder Announces Coaching Staff". NBA.com. June 29, 2015. Retrieved June 29, 2015.
- "Former 76ers star Maurice Cheeks makes tearful entry to basketball hall of fame". inquirer.com. September 7, 2018.
- Career statistics and player information from Basketball-Reference.com