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Getting to know Lawrence Frank

For those of you with Lawrence Frank’s background, Vincent Goodwill and Eric Lacy of The Detroit News wrote a fairly lengthy article on Frank’s road to the Pistons:

From there, Frank went to Indiana University, serving as Bobby Knight’s student manager from 1989-92.

Abunassar (Farmington Hills, Detroit Catholic Central) came to Bloomington a year later, and often chided Frank about his one-track mind.

"His focus was so strong," Abunassar said. "We used to tell him, ‘Go out to dinner, catch a new movie.’"

Abunassar said Frank probably didn’t know where a movie theater was near campus, and it probably hasn’t changed since.

Frank then spent three seasons as a Grizzlies assistant under Brian Hill.

He compiled scouting reports and pored over hours of game film for the Grizzlies, hardly the glamorous life.

With the Grizzlies, it wasn’t uncommon for Frank to be in the gym during the wee hours of the night, fetching balls for Shareef Abdur-Rahim, then the franchise’s best player.

"Shareef told me at the draft, two in the morning, three in the morning, Lawrence was there for him," Abunassar said. "When you’re around someone who wants so much for you, they respect it."

Abunassar is Joe Abunassar, the Las Vegas-based trainer who trains, among others, Austin Daye. Daye recently spoke with Sam Amick of Sports Illustrated about Abunassar:

On his offseason plans, which include working out with trainer Joe Abunassar at Impact Academy in Las Vegas and renting a house in the desert with friends Rudy Gay (Memphis small forward) and Kyle Lowry (Houston point guard):

"[Abunassar] is one of the best in the business. I love working out with him because he has been with me since I left [Gonzaga] my sophomore year [in 2009] and I plan on working out with him for the rest of my career. He has just been great to me.

"Rudy Gay and Kyle Lowry, we’re all good friends. Of all the guys who come there, I think us three are really close with [Abunassar] and it’s really like a father-son relationship. We’re really good friends, so it’s really fun, especially when we compete against each other in games or when we’re on the same team."

That explains why Daye endorsed Frank so heartily. After reading Goodwill’s and Lacy’s article, you might follow suit.

11 Comments

  • Jul 25, 201112:19 pm
    by khandor

    Reply

    Dan,
    Nice job.
    As I’ve said before … The only people who think that Lawrence Frank might have problems gaining and then keeping the respect of the players on Detroit’s current roster are those without first-hand experience dealing with elite level basketball players themselves. The fact is … Lawrence Frank has already demonstrated that he has what it takes to succeed as a head coach in the NBA and if, by chance, he fails to improve the Pistons’ team it will not be because he wasn’t properly qualified for the job in the first place, or did not have the support of either the GM or the owner.

    • Jul 25, 201112:43 pm
      by Dan Feldman

      Reply

      Khandor, what is your “first-hand experience dealing with elite level basketball players”?

      • Jul 25, 20111:31 pm
        by khandor

        Reply

        Dan,
        I have worked in a variety of different capacities over the years with both professional and amateur athletes, coaches and administrators who would fit properly into the “elite” level category. If anyone else would like to say that same thing about themselves, in all honesty, then that would be perfectly fine with me. I take others who contribute their thoughts on-line at their word, since there is no reason for me to doubt them, and if they are really who they say they are then I will be able to tell this for a fact by the content of what they actually have to say about something connected to the world of sports. You should have my email address from the comments which I’ve left on pistonpowered.com. If you would like to send me a private email, I will do my best to answer any question which you have. Best wishes.

        • Jul 25, 20112:44 pm
          by Dan Feldman

          Reply

          If you’re interested in publicly sharing your first-hand experiences publicly, that’s great. If not, that’s fine, too. But if you’re not, continually pointing out that you have them serves no purpose. Nobody will believe you.

          • Jul 26, 201111:08 am
            by khandor

            Dan,
            With all due respect, if you read what I wrote in my initial comment in this thread, you should be able to see that the reference I made was to those without first-hand experience working with elite level basketball players. Conversely, what I said, by implication, was that anyone with first-hand experience working with elite level basketball players would think a different [opposite?] way, based on their own experience. The “those with first-hand experience” that I referenced, in this case, are not restricted to JUST me but, also, should include any number of others who have that type of first-hand experience themselves … e.g. players and coaches. IMO, if you have the opportunity to ask individuals with this type of first-hand experience what they think about this topic what they will tell you is consistent with what I have said THEY will say about it. From my personal standpoint, I have no problem telling you about my own experiences working with elite level players, coaches and administrators … if YOU happen to ask me … but, at the present time, at least, it needs to be in the specific format which I am using. Those who are unable to accept this format as “legitimate” are under obligation to accept what I have to say based on my own first-hand experience. That is their decision to make and I lose nothing tangible if/when they  make it. OTOH, those who actually track what I have had to say about the world of sports on-line over the last several years also have the ability to formulate their own opinion concerning the degree of rightfulness associated with my ideas about the game based on how those events have subsequently played out in real life. Sometimes I am wrong in my assessments of a situation, and sometimes I am right. I do not claim to be perfect. What I will tell you, however, is that my assessments eventually turn out to be right a substantially higher percentage of the time than they turn out to be wrong. Let me give you a few quick examples: #1. re: the hiring of Michael Curry, it was my belief that Curry might be able to do a good job in Detroit, based on the totality of his experiences in the game prior to that point in time. I was WRONG about this, however, and it became apparent in the immediate aftermath of the AI acquisition when Curry failed to handle AI’s time with the Pistons in a productive [right?] way. IMO, Joe D. then did the right thing and fired M-Curry, rather than making a bad situation worse by allowing it to continue over a longer period of time. [0-1] #2. re: the hiring of John Kuester, I was WRONG about this, also, and it became apparent fairly quickly again, as Kuester was unable to settle upon a solid rotation for the Pistons during his first season, in spite of having several average-to-good players on the roster at a variety of different positions. [0-2] #3. re: J-Kuester’s 2nd season in Detroit, I turned out to be right about this … unfortunately for the Pistons. Last summer I said that Detroit would be headed for another difficult season with J-Kuester at the helm, since he had already shown by that point he was incapable of handling his rotation in an effective way over the course of an entire season, and the way he operated was going to result in continued disharmony amongst the players. [1-2] #4. re: the hiring of Jay Triano, I said that he would most likely do a poor job improving the Raptors team 2 seasons ago, given his set of personal strengths and weaknesses AND the collection of players on Toronto’s roster. Sam Mitchell was a better coach than many others realized … although not in the elite level category … and should not have been fired in December/2009, 2 seasons ago. Unfortunately, J-Triano was fired this summer by the Raptors and replaced by D-Casey. [2-2] #5. re: the hiring of Tom Thibodeau, I said that he would most likely do a very good job with the Bulls last season, given his set of personal strengths and weaknesses AND the collection of players on Chicago’s roster. IMO, Vinnie Del Negro was/is not an elite level head coach in the NBA. [3-2] #6. re: the hiring of Doug Collins, I said that he would most likely do a good job improving the Sixers team last season, given his set of personal strengths and weaknesses AND the collection of players on Philadelphia’s roster. He has already proven that he is a good [but-not-great] head coach in the NBA with his prior stints in Chicago, Detroit and Washington. [4-2] #7. re: the hiring of Lawrence Frank, I have already said that he will do a good job improving the team from where it’s sunk the past 2 seasons under Kuester, but will probably not be able to win a championship with Detroit down-the-road, given his set of personal strengths and weaknesses. Time will tell, if I am right or wrong about Lawrence Frank and the Pistons. I have no problem with OTHERS holding ME accountable for the rightfulness of my opinions.

          • Jul 26, 201111:12 am
            by khandor

            Sorry, Dan.
            This part should actually read as:
            Those who are unable to accept this format as “legitimate” are under NO obligation to accept what I have to say based on my own first-hand experience.
            [i.e. the inclusion of the word "NO" there is actually quite important]

          • Jul 26, 201112:30 pm
            by brgulker

            Khandor,
            The basic point is that extraordinary claims demand extraordinary evidence.
            You claim to be one of a very small percentage of the human population to ever have had experience either 1) coaching professional basketball players or 2) actually being a professional basketball player.
            Certainly, you understand how easy it is to make such a claim given the anonymity of the internet. Anyone can make those claims. I can create a new screen name and blog, make similar claims, and then ask everyone to believe me.
            I also think it’s important to say that the majority of your arguments are simply arguments from authority. E.g., “I have this opinion of Player, coach and team X, and you can trust my opinion because of my authority on this topic.”

            Those aren’t bad, in and of themselves. In fact, those arguments can be useful when the audience has full disclosure as to the expertise and authority of the person making the claim.

            But when you refuse to reveal what your authority actually is (and also establish some reasonable proof), it makes your arguments increasingly difficult to believe – especially when those arguments seem very counterintuitive and/or counterfactual.
            And just for the record, I do have experience with the game outside of the writing I do about Wins Produced. I played on a very successful high school team in Michigan, three years of NAIA basketball, and even a few exhibition games against professional teams in Europe. I’m not saying that to brag, simply in the form of disclosure.

          • Jul 26, 20111:37 pm
            by khandor

            Ben,
            re: “Anyone can make those claims. I can create a new screen name and blog, make similar claims, and then ask everyone to believe me.
            I also think it’s important to say that the majority of your arguments are simply arguments from authority. E.g., “I have this opinion of Player, coach and team X, and you can trust my opinion because of my authority on this topic.””
            With all due respect, my opinions are not based on an “argument from authority”. One of the fascinating beauties of the internet is that MY OPINIONS EXPRESSED ON-LINE are now a matter of public record and anyone who cares to can, in fact, DO SOME RESEARCH FOR THEMSELVES to see how correct and incorrect my ideas about the game have been over the last several seasons … in a similar way perhaps that I could, if I wanted to, do some research about you, by visiting your blog and doing an on-line search about you and the work you happen to do, and your involvement with social media, etc., should they have a need to do that.
            PS. In my experience, however, I have not encountered very many, if any, people who are active in the on-line hoops community that are “frauds”. i.e. Say that they are someone with a specific set of experiences when in fact they are not that person. It would actually be very interesting to me if you were to say that you have encountered this problem? … especially, if the persons who you’ve encountered have been willing to perpetrate this type of “hoax” over an extended number of years. In fact, I would even go so far as to say that you have never, ever encountered someone else quite like me, in all your dealings on the internet. Have you? If not, then, that should tell you precisely just how “easy” it really is to do what I happen to do in my dealings on-line.
            ———————————
            re: “But when you refuse to reveal what your authority actually is (and also establish some reasonable proof), it makes your arguments increasingly difficult to believe – especially when those arguments seem very counterintuitive and/or counterfactual.”
            What dealing with someone like Phil Jackson [for example, as one version of an authentic elite practicioner] should have taught others in the hoops community is that it is, in fact, those few with a seemingly “counterintuitive and/or counterfactual” approach [to the game], in comparison with the normative one, that just might be onto something of true significance … in the world of athletics, if not in life, as well.
            When Phil Jackson started his tenure with the Bulls, he said, in effect – through his words and actions – that the Triangle Offense was, in his opinion, the best one going. Would he have cared that others said he was not actually to be believed, at that time? After some 20 years in coaching, however, would you like to disagree with his opinion, at this point in time? I have been doing what I do on-line for the last several years, and I have no problem whatsoever with others who would like to assert that the opinions which I’ve published on-line during this time have subsequently been shown to be mostly incorrect/flawed/wrong/bad/etc. All I would simply ask, in return, is that YOU PLEASE go ahead and present YOUR EVIDENCE in support of making that specific claim about me and what I’ve said on-line over the last 5 years. If, however, you can’t do THAT, then, what does that say about your claim? If I then do what I do for another 15 years, will you still be making the same claim about me in the year 2026?

          • Jul 26, 20112:57 pm
            by brgulker

            khandor, you are shifting the goal posts and missing the point.

            I’m not critiquing your views about basketball and whether or not they are correct.

            I’m pushing you for making extraordinary claims about yourself and your experience and for your resistance to reveal what they actually are. 

            Here’s what I mean:

            I have been doing what I do on-line for the last several years, and I have no problem whatsoever with others who would like to assert that the opinions which I’ve published on-line during this time have subsequently been shown to be mostly incorrect/flawed/wrong/bad/etc. All I would simply ask, in return, is that YOU PLEASE go ahead and present YOUR EVIDENCE in support of making that specific claim about me and what I’ve said on-line over the last 5 years.

            In this comment chain, I haven’t really said anything about the validity of your basketball-related assertions. 

            Where I have criticized you it’s been about your claims about your personal and professional experience with basketball, which whether you admit it or not, tend to ground all of your arguments.

            Does that make sense?

          • Jul 26, 20113:58 pm
            by khandor

            Ben,
            IMHO, the goalposts here are still stationary. If you are criticizing me for making reference to “my own experience working with elite level performers, without citing specific locations, leagues, events, teams, individuals’ names, etc., then I have no problem with that, since I have chosen not to disclose this type of information on the internet, at this point in time. If this lessens the impact of what I’ve written on-line, thus far, in your judgment, then, I’m okay with that, as well.
            Do you think that I am somehow unaware that my opinions about the game are more likely to be listened to by others if I was to list the details involved with my personal experiences?
            Do you think that I am somehow unaware that my ‘little blog’ would be more likely to gain in notoriety, or to be “picked up” by a bigger service in order to provide my insights/analyses for a wider audience if I was to list the details involved with my personal experience?
            Do you think that I have not been told by several different people in the on-line hoops community that, “What you [I] need to do is get yourself [myself] on twitter, and/or facebook, etc., so that you [I] can be ‘followed’ easier by a wider audience, or at least those who think that what you [I] have to say is valuable?”
            My response to that?
            As the kids are want to say today: “It is what it is.”
            If I wanted to achieve any of those specific things then THAT is precisely what I would proceed to do.
            Hence, it must also be the case that NONE of THOSE specific objectives is, in fact, a goal of mine.
            [PLEASE NOTE: Since it also happens to be the case that my goals do not involve causing a disruption to others, in the on-line community, then, it is extremely unlikely that I am any sort of troll.]
            If anyone can benefit from my experience, and/or what I happen to write on-line, then, to me, that is simply terrific.
            For those that may choose to take what I have to say on-line in a different way, I wish nothing but the best. We are not all cut from the same cloth and no one has to follow my way of doing things if they choose a different path instead.

  • Jul 25, 20115:16 pm
    by rob

    Reply

    Is Frank still going to be our coach? What’s the hold up? I’m not sure why it was supposed to take 2 days to draw up his contract, but now its been 4 days.

    I know there is nothing he can do as coach right now, but they still have to close the deal. All this talk is premature until then. Plus, it’d be nice as a fan to finally hear what the plan is going to be for this team, after waiting 2 yrs already.

    I cant think of any team that conducts business any slower than this franchise the last few years.

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