DETROIT – The Motor City Cruise announced today that DJ Bakker has been selected to serve as the franchise’s first head coach. Per team policy, the terms of the agreement were not disclosed. Bakker has spent the last three seasons as an Assistant and Player Development Coach under Dwane Casey and served as the Pistons summer league head coach in 2019.
“DJ brings tremendous basketball knowledge and has had great success working with players at all levels,” said Rob Murphy, President and General Manager for the Motor City Cruise. “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 is entering his sixth season as a member of Casey’s coaching staff, spending two years in Toronto and the past three years in Detroit. During his time in Toronto, Bakker assisted in the development of Pascal Siakam, Norm Powell, Fred Van Vleet, and Alfonso McKinnie. In Detroit, Bakker worked closely with Luke Kennard and Saddiq Bey on individual skill progression, while overseeing the development of all young players on the roster. Bakker’s knowledge of Casey’s offensive and defensive philosophy with the Pistons will provide a seamless transition for players moving between the Cruise and the Pistons.
“It’s an honor to be chosen as the first head coach of the Motor City Cruise,” said Bakker. 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.”
Bakker is entering his ninth season overall in the NBA. He got his start in Chicago working in the Bulls’ video department. Bakker has also worked as a Regional Advanced Scout for the Orlando Magic and a Player Development Assistant for the Dallas Mavericks. Prior to his time in the NBA, Bakker served as a Player Development Coach for Tim Grover, the well-known basketball trainer who previously worked with Michael Jordan, Dwyane Wade, and other high-level NBA stars.