Motor City Cruise hires Detroit Pistons development coach DJ Bakker as head coach

Detroit Free Press

The Motor City Cruise, the Detroit Pistons’ incoming G League franchise, has hired its new head coach.

DJ Bakker will be the Cruise’s inaugural head coach, the franchise announced Tuesday. Bakker has been on Dwane Casey’s coaching staff for five seasons, including the last three in Detroit.

MORE: Pistons new G League team Motor City Cruise to hold open tryouts Sept. 15

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“DJ brings tremendous basketball knowledge and has had great success working with players at all levels,” Cruise president and general manager Rob Murphy said in a press release. “He’s a great communicator, teacher and possesses the tools necessary to accelerate the growth of our players and team. DJ has been preparing his entire life for this opportunity. I know he will represent the Cruise and our entire organization the right way.”

Bakker was hired as a player development coach for the Pistons following Casey’s hire in 2018. He had spent the previous two seasons on Casey’s staff in Toronto. Bakker worked closely with Saddiq Bey last season and with Luke Kennard in the past.

The Cruise will play its first season this fall sharing a new arena on Wayne State’s campus with Wayne State’s men’s and women’s basketball teams.

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“It’s an honor to be chosen as the first head coach of the Motor City Cruise,” Bakker said in a release. “I know how much the Cruise means to this organization and the city of Detroit. This is a great opportunity I take pride in and will bring a high level of energy, enthusiasm, and work ethic daily to ensure this is a successful experience for our players and organization — Detroit is home.”

Contact Omari Sankofa II at osankofa@freepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @omarisankofa. Read more on the Detroit Pistons and sign up for our Pistons newsletter.

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