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Lawrence Frank’s lineup decisions represent another break from previous regimes

Carlos Monarrez of the Detroit Free Press:

“You need a balance of both, and you always weigh it in terms of the plus you’re getting on the defensive side versus the minus,” he said. “And also, does it help Jonas coming off the bench? … Like I said, we weren’t going to make a knee-jerk reaction. We made the move, and we’re not going to make a knee-jerk reaction now. But you continue to evaluate it, and you weigh all those factors.”

Lawrence Frank has made lineup decisions that I’ve both agreed and disagreed with — love that he kept Brandon Knight in the starting lineup after Rodney Stuckey was ready to return, not the biggest fan of his decision to start Ben Wallace and bring Jonas Jerebko off the bench. But after the last three years where John Kuester and Michael Curry made lineup decisions with no real rhyme or reason to them, then followed those up by inexplicably changing them before they even had a chance to work or fail decisively, it’s good to see Frank’s more patient approach.


  • Jan 23, 201211:27 am
    by brgulker


    I LOVE starting Ben Wallace, specifically because it gives Monroe the chance to start the game matched up against the weaker of the opposition’s frontcourt. 

    I don’t think it will mean much in terms of wins and losses this season, but for Monroe’s overall development, I like it. Keeping him out of foul trouble (which is presumably part of the rationale) will let him play more. Monroe playing more = good things for the Pistons.

    • Jan 23, 201211:37 am
      by Patrick Hayes


      Ironically, he seems to be picking up more early fouls since Wallace has been starting.

      • Jan 23, 201212:51 pm
        by brgulker


        Fluke o

        • Jan 23, 20122:06 pm
          by Patrick Hayes


          For sure, I expect it to change, but it’s interesting that he’s seemed to foul a lot more guarding the opponent’s second best frontcourt player. Maybe he gambles more than he normally would playing against lesser players? No idea really.

    • Jan 23, 20122:36 pm
      by danny


      I completely disagree. We shoulndt spoon feed Monroe. He needs to adjust and get better. Plus, what about the development of Jerebko?

      • Jan 23, 20122:40 pm
        by Patrick Hayes


        Well, part of getting better is getting minutes, so if Wallace (although it weirdly hasn’t so far) eventually keeps him out of foul trouble so Monroe can stay on the court more, isn’t that helping his development?

        As for Jerebko, it’s not like his minutes have gone down off the bench. He’s still playing a large role. His minutes are about the same off the bench as they were when he was starting.

  • Jan 23, 201211:38 am
    by Marvin Jones


    I hate Ben starting, we’re playing 4 on 5; how many times has Monroe passed the ball to Ben in scoring position only to see him catch it and look for someone else to give it to, if it was JJ it would be a score; and when Monroe is doubled if JJ was in there he would be cutting for a basket or waiting on the wing for a jump shot, with Ben,  Monroe is just trapped or if he get’s it to him then you have to reset the whole offense and now we’re against the shot clock, which happens a lot; Ben’s defense is not so good that it overcomes his ineffectiveness on offense   

    • Jan 23, 20121:51 pm
      by frankie d


      that is a result of coaching decisions.
      remember that the exact thing happened when carlysle was coaching the team.  it killed the team in the playoffs, when teams had the chance to game plan specifically for the pistons.
      larry brown  changed all of that.  go back and look at some of those old recordings from the brown era.  he would often start games by posting ben up and making sure he got a couple of early shots.  while he obviously is not that great at it, he isn’t as bad as lots of fans believe.  and it made him a legitimate threat that the defense had to account for.  therefore, the offense ran a lot better because it had to account for all 5 offensive players and it had to play 5 on 5.  it couldn’t cheat.
      imho, that was the biggest difference between carlysle’s teams and brown’s pistons.
      carlylse basically told ben to stay out of the way and, maybe, rebound weakside.
      larry brown included ben in his offensive sets.  it was clear that everyone had instructions to actually look for ben on offense, and to pass it to him, if he was open.  ben’s offensive numbers jumped when brown took over.
      his shots went from 6.0 in carlysle’s last year, to 9.2 and 8.8 the 2 years brown coached the team.  his scoring average went from 6.5 to 9.5 and 9.8 when the team went from carlysle coached to brown coached.  ben had the highest offensive numbers of his career under brown.
      it was not an accident.
      brown’s approach was much more successful.
      frank is making a coaching decision, much like carlysle’s.
      you are right, now the team is playing 4 on 5, but as larry brown showed, there are ways to make certain that does not happen.  he could force the defense to play honestly by making certain that wallace is included in the offense.

  • Jan 23, 201211:47 am


    Yeah I don’t understand why Monroe would be picking up quick fouls with Big Ben starting.  It is his last year, do you just sit the hall of famer on the bench??  We shall see.

  • Jan 23, 201212:16 pm
    by Steve K


    Wallace starting may have made sense on paper, but hasn’t Monroe’s decline coincided with Ben’s insertion into the starting lineup?

    The proof is in the results.

  • Jan 23, 20121:48 pm
    by rick77


    I hate to be the bad apple but starting Jerebko will not get you any wins and all it does it put Jerebko in foul trouble on top of his man abusing him. Don’t put it on Big Ben for the lack of adequate big men in the team. It is about being in the right spots as well as rotating and the last I checked Monroe nicknamed “Moose” is not the fastest when it comes to rotation. I understand he may be the best but dude needs to get in condition and stop running like he carries a 300lb frame when he’s probably no bigger than 250. Wallace starts to give the second team balance with Jerebko. I mean a blind man can see that. It is not like Wallace is starting because he won NBA defensive player of the year it’s because he knows what the coach wants. Its funny because alot of people did not seem to understand why Wilkens was playing more than Daye and I see this is an example of that but in a different manner. Show the next big on the bench what they should be doing so that they are prepared when their number is called. Jerebko’s number have gone down as well and the few times I watched he was getting in early foul trouble. He is and always will be in my eyes a role player and will fit perfectly when the team gets it collective $hit together.

    • Jan 23, 20122:15 pm
      by Patrick Hayes


      I’m not putting it on Wallace at all, I do thing that the Jerebko-Monroe combination is better offensively though. Jerebko is active and moves without the ball and Monroe is a good passer. Plus, both guys are great offensive rebounders. They certainly have defensive problems, which Wallace helps. I’m not against him starting, I just like things that Jerebko brings to the starting lineup as well.

  • Jan 23, 20122:03 pm
    by frankie d


    the rotation is much more balanced when ben starts.
    maxiell has played much better since ben has been starting.  ben starting allows max to play the center spot, which he is, weird as it seems, best suited for.
    also, when ben and max and wilkins played on the second unit, the offense was brutal.
    i agree that starting ben sucks.  it is an incredible admission of failure by the team.  ben should be a guy who plays 10-12 minutes a game, someone you could bring in against a specific offensive player if you wanted to slow him down.
    the fact that ben is the team’s best interior defender and therefore, the best match for monroe in the starting line, up is a HUGE indictment of joe dumars.
    but it is what it is, and for better or worse, imho, ben starting is best for the team.  it isn’t great, but it is about the best the team can offer right now.

    • Jan 23, 20122:14 pm
      by Patrick Hayes


      Agree on Maxiell and I don’t even hate Jerebko coming off the bench. I do, however, really like Monroe and Jerebko playing together. Jerebko’s movement without the ball is a good target for Monroe’s passing and both guys crash the offensive glass hard. There are certainly merits to starting Wallace though too, which you mentioned.

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