Dan Feldman’s post yesterday pretty much summed up both of our thoughts on Lawrence Frank: we think the Pistons hired the best of the candidates they were interested in, even if compelling cases could also be made for Mike Woodson, Bill Laimbeer or Kalvin Sampson as well. Below are reactions from local and national media to the hiring.
No Laimbeer, No 2004 LB connection in Mike Woodson, No 1st year coach, and more interestingly No Joe Dumars companion. Frank is from outside of the organization, and will likely fill his coaching staff with others who are from outside of the organization and who have had little to no affiliation with the Pistons and/or Joe Dumars.
Interesting. I’ve been on Team Frank all along so…. I’ll take it.
I was a Sampson fan at the start of #Pistons search, but I like L Frank. Dynamic guy and fun to talk to. Hope this also means Sully stays.
Does the hiring of Frank signal any discord in Auburn Hills? Stein seems to imply as much with his article on the Pistons hiring Frank. The report is rife with instances of pointing out the “growing influence” of Cheketts. Wojnarowski, meanwhile, doesn’t bother to mention Checketts at all. He does, however, say:
“Frank has benefited from the recommendations of Philadelphia 76ers president Rod Thorn – his old boss with the New Jersey Nets – and Celtics coach Doc Rivers. Pistons general manager Joe Dumars holds both Thorn and Rivers in high regard.”
This would indicate that it was Dumars who gave the final blessing and not a sign of Checketts exerting power on the team.
Now, I imagine there’s going to be some initial disappointment around these parts because it’s not Laimbeer, but at least it’s not Mike Woodson/Dumars’ choice, right? The report less than a week ago was that Dumars wanted Woodson for the job, but his new boss Tom Gores fancied Frank. If that’s true, then I think Gores is making it pretty clear who is running the show.
Either way, Frank is a strong choice. He has experience (and a record for consecutive wins to start a coaching career!), he’s defensive minded, and perhaps most importantly he’s not another pluck from the 2004 Larry Brown family tree of coaching.
He’s famous for starting his coaching career with a pretty good New Jersey Nets team that was better than the 22-20 record Byron Scott left it with when he was fired in 2003-04. Frank started off his Nets tenure with a 14-0 record, and finished it with an 0-16 run in 2009-10. Both disparate records were the function of players either tuning in and tuning out. He, and those teams, weren’t as good or as bad as either record.
Frank is a defensive guru – otherwise he wouldn’t have been Thibsy’s replacement in Boston – which is something that has been lacking from the Pistons persona since the end of their glory days. With his main competition for the role being Mike Woodson, improved over the years but still responsible for the Atlanta Hawks Isolation Program, this hire is both the best available, and good in any circumstances. With a horrible defensive team, a promising young center that glorifies the concept of a moving offense, and several players prone to gunning for their own shots (Rodney Stuckey, Ben Gordon, Charlie Villanueva, the current version of Rip Hamilton, and while we’re reluctant to include his name on this list and hope he proves us wrong we have to be realistic – Brandon Knight), you can see why the defensive Xs and Os guy takes precedent over the Iso-heavy Mr. Potato Head motivator.
Frank is passionate, and knows his stuff. But will players believe in him? No.
But I’m not here to simply rip a decision by an organization that put their faith in Michael Curry, Flip Saunders and Kuester. Here is a solution that will make this hire work: Clean house.
That means Joe Dumars must forget about re-signing free agent Tayshaun Prince. Dumars must get rid of Richard Hamilton. And Rodney Stuckey. And Tracy McGrady. And the players who turned this franchise into a circus.
I would have taken Mike Woodson over Lawrence Frank as Pistons head coach. One of the problems the Pistons have had is controlling players. Woodson’s status as a former player of note would help him in that regard. Also, I didn’t think Frank did that well in New Jersey. He completely lost his last Nets’ team and was more of media darling than an actual success.
And here’s hoping your team of overpaid veterans and mismatched youngsters actually plays for you, unlike when they turned on their previous coach, John Kuester. After two straight seasons that saw the Pistons win fewer than 40 percent of their games, the first such stretch since 1995, you’ve certainly got your work cut out for you. Maybe try that thing where you win your first 13 games again? I dunno, just a suggestion.
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