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Pistons don’t run set plays after forcing misses

Keith Langlois of Pistons.com:

Lawrence Frank offers players a tantalizing bargain: play good defense and you don’t have to worry about mastering the playbook.

“We give the ultimate gold ticket to players,” he said after a Saturday practice carried out with the lively tempo of a team riding a four-game winning streak. “If we get stops, we just play out of basketball principles. We don’t run set plays off of misses. So if I’m a player and I want freedom, I’m going to get stops.”

As I’ve said, the Pistons don’t rank last in pace because they’re willfully playing slow. They rank last in pace because their defense doesn’t create transition opportunities.


  • Feb 14, 201212:22 pm
    by neutes


    I can never tell when this guy is serious. On another note back when Frank was coaching New Jersey the blog Nets are Scorching, I think, anyways, they ran this giant article critiquing Frank’s coaching skills and there main complaint was that he never ran enough sets, and during crunch time or inbounds plays would have no plan. The last shot of the game was an Iso every single time, and they’d always know it.

  • Feb 14, 20122:32 pm
    by frankie d


    frank’s pistons are horrible on set plays after time-outs.
    imho, the best coaches run the best plays in those circumstances.
    pistons’ fans should well recall how LB’s teams would almost always get a bucket in those circumstances.
    these pistons, however, look like they are in the middle of a three stooges routine on those plays.
    jakob eich diagrammed one such play on a post, and the play was so complex that it could have broken down at 5 or 6 points.  and it did break down at several of those points and was laughingly unsuccessful.
    the idea of drawing up such a complex play, with so many points where a decent defense could blow it up, is incomprehensible.   and going to a “hero shot” iso is not the only option.  
    imho, frank has little or no “feel” for game situations and players and his failure in understanding how to use set plays is an example of that failure.

    • Feb 15, 20123:17 am
      by Dan Feldman


      “imho, the best coaches run the best plays in those circumstances.”

      Also, John Kuester.

  • Feb 14, 20124:58 pm
    by Josh B


    We’re not really comparing the results of a championship contender to these Pistons are we? LB was great at drawing up plays out of timeouts, however personnel has a little something to do with that

  • Feb 14, 20125:48 pm
    by frankie d


    drawing up plays that can be executed has nothing to do with personnel.
    good coaches draw up plays that can successfully be executed by his players.
    now, that play may not result in a bucket – a guy can always miss a wide-open shot – but good coaches should always be able to use his talent to get a decent look at the basket.
    the example jakob eich posted about is the perfect example of what not to do.
    there is a reason that almost all nba coaches end up relying on a last second “hero shot” as the preferred option.  the simplicity of the play – one player getting his own shot, maybe with the help of a screen – is its strength.  
    even phil jackson would ditch his triangle offense in the last minutes of close games and let kobe or michael try to get shots.  defenses tighten up so much in games at that point that even getting an entry pass done cleanly can be a problem.
    the fact that frank sets up his guys in ways that appear to not take advantage of their strengths is a problem and shows me that frank doesn’t get things on a basic level.  just before that last second debacle by tay noted in the eich post, he’d set stuckey up for a last second shot, where he’d have to make a decision about passing or shooting.  if there is one thing any piston fan should know about stuckey, it is that you don’t want to force him to make decisions in crunch time.  
    if you set up plays where guys get clean looks, there is a decent chance it will be successful, no matter whether they are superstars, or just average players.   that is why coaches harp on “execution” so much.   but if you set up plays where players are unlikely to even get a clean look, what happens is exactly what has been happening with the pistons.

  • Feb 18, 201212:15 am
    by Norm


    There are two types of coaches-leaders and drivers. Leaders can take a rag tag outfit and make it better by tailoring strategy to individual player strengths. Drivers usually depend on set military like timing to utilize team strength. Thats why LB was so successful with a team with no superstar!

    I think Frank is doing an excellent job of leading because he is diversifying to utilize the hot hand and getting away from set rituals. Just my take…

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