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Internal Improvement: Lawrence Frank

Tom Gores said it better happen. Jonas Jerebko guaranteed it. Rodney Stuckey agreed.

The Detroit Pistons can certainly make the playoffs this season, but given how similar the team is to last year’s, it won’t be easy. It appears the Pistons are mostly relying on internal improvement in order to exceed expectations and reach the postseason.

For our 2012 preview series, Patrick and I will each examine one area where we see realistic room for improvement from each Piston. Today, we look at Lawrence Frank.

Defensive concepts

Lawrence Frank was one of my top-two choices to become the Pistons’ coach, 1B to Dwane Casey’s 1A. I liked both for their intelligence, ability to communicate and defensive focus.

Unfortunately, Casey proved himself leaps and bounds ahead of Frank when it came to implementing a quality defense in year one. The Pistons finished 22nd in defensive rating, and Casey’s Raptors ranked 14th.

However, maybe Frank just wasn’t good at coaching during a lockout-shortened season, which could be the case, considering he never bothered to install a zone defense. I hope that was the problem, because that would be an isolated issue and one that’s behind him now.

It was encouraging that the Pistons’ defense improved throughout the season, but until Detroit has a full, good defensive year under Frank, I’ll be a bit worried I overrated his defensive prowess. — D.F.

Play the kids

When Joe Dumars hired Frank as coach, Dumars frequently said he wanted a coach who, despite Dumars’ reputation for burning through coaches every couple years, would be here for the long haul. Since Dumars has also recently discussed he wouldn’t put a goal of making the playoffs on such a young team, that would also suggest Frank has some security. As such, I’d like to see him less reliant on veteran players this season, particularly Tayshaun Prince and Jason Maxiell. I wouldn’t want those players removed from the rotation entirely or anything drastic like that, but Andre Drummond and the team’s collection of young wings should all get opportunities at extended minutes.

Of course, all of the job security talk could be rhetoric. USA Today listed Frank as a coach on the hot seat. So if that’s truly the case, if Frank feels pressure to win now, I think we can expect to see more of the same when it comes to playing veterans at the expense of developing young players. — P.H.



  • Oct 30, 20125:43 pm
    by Day and Knight


    Any coach that decides to start Maxiell should automatically be on the hot seat…just sayin

    • Oct 30, 20126:00 pm
      by moe313


      you aint never lied…

  • Oct 30, 20126:26 pm
    by T Mc


    To me Frank hasn’t helPed us establish an identity yet!
    I don’t see him getting the most out of our players.
    Good coaches make poor players perform better than they are.
    He has talented players and they regress under him.
    If we start 5-15 it just says he’s not a good coach & the only reason he ever had a descent record ever is because JKidd ran his offense for him in jersey for a sec.

  • Oct 30, 20127:53 pm
    by frankie d


    frank’s record argues that he is a mediocre coach.  
    based on what he did here in detroit, i’d say his record accurately reflects his ability as a head  coach.
    on a team with all star talent, he might take a team deep into the playoffs.  on a team like detroit, with talent that is less than overwhelming, his extremely  cautious approach to everything means a .500 finish…at best. 
     a more creative coach might try some unusual things that could take advantage of detroit’s weird roster.  for example,  it is amazing, considering  his roster that he refuses to use a zone, even as a change of pace.  i know he just used it this preseason and hopefully that will carry over to the this regular season.  we will see…

  • Oct 30, 201211:09 pm
    by tarsier


    I’m fine with hanging on to Frank at least for now. Dumars is running the show and I don’t trust his judgement on coaches. Mediocre ain’t bad. If mediocre is replaced, who’s to say it’ll be an upgrade?

    • Oct 31, 201211:12 am
      by sebastian


      From Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary:
      Mediocre – of moderate or low quality, value, ability, or performance : ordinary, so-so.
      tarsier, in high price professional sports mediocre ain’t shit.

      • Oct 31, 20122:35 pm
        by tarsier


        I know what mediocre means. Like I said, it ain’t bad. It’s not good either, it’s middling. I am not pleased with mediocre. But ordinary/so-so is a big step up from Curry or Kuester. And if Frank is replaced, there is at least a reasonably strong likelihood that those two would represent the caliber of his replacement.

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