"Me, Khris and Kim were out there shooting and I had a couple flip-flops on, messing around, and he told us when you’re out there you have to put in work," Jerebko said. "He told us on Day 1 what he wanted. I definitely respect that.
"That’s what you want as a player. You want somebody to tell you what to do. I won’t be wearing my flip-flops no more."
Cheeks clearly wants accountability and respect from the players and that’s fine with Jerebko.
"It doesn’t bother me at all," Jerebko said. "That’s what he should demand. We’re professional basketball players. He should demand that. And he should get that to from everybody."
Although the message regarding attire was directed at Jerebko, it wasn’t lost on English, who understands there was more to it than just a teammate being called out for wearing a pair of flip-flops during an informal workout.
"Whenever we’re in the facility, we’re to be wearing Detroit Pistons’ stuff," English said. "There should be a sense of pride in putting on those Detroit letters every time you take the court. That was the extent of (Thursday’s message). Every time you’re on the court, come to work and be in Detroit stuff.
This is fine and good right now, but how will it go over when the Pistons are suffering through a six-game losing streak – most teams had least one this season – and a player arrives at practice in a non-Pistons shirt? Does Maurice Cheeks punish a player who’s likely already sour due to the losing? Does Cheeks let it go and erode his credibility?
There are no easy answers once you walk down this road.
Scott Skiles, who clashed with Bulls players after instituting a headband ban, comes to mind. Coaching in the NBA is more about picking battles than setting artificial standards just to foster discipline.
This isn’t like demanding players arrive on time to practice, which actually improves results. I would love every player to take so much pride in playing for the Pistons that he wants to wear Pistons gear at all times, but that’s unrealistic and also won’t really affect the team’s record. Neither will Jonas Jerebko wearing flip-flops while shooting around at a time he wouldn’t have been shooting around seriously, anyway.
If Cheeks sets this hard line, it could make his job harder at some point. If he can actually get his players to follow his orders this closely, good for him, but that’s a tall order in an NBA locker room full of players increasingly want to show their independence.