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Lawrence Frank did not say: ‘You can’t both develop players and try to win’

Via Vincent Goodwill of The Detroit News:

"Just because you throw a guy out there for 30 minutes, that could be the worst thing you could do because it could reinforce all the bad habits," Frank said. "If he’s not doing what he should be doing, how can you look at the guys in your locker room and say you’re about the right things? You can’t both develop players and try to win."

Let’s start with that last sentence in isolation. It’s EXTREMELY troubling. Well-run teams do both all the time, but let’s say the Pistons can’t do both right now. I’d absolutely choose player development over trying to win. The Pistons probably don’t have good enough players to win right now. They probably do have enough unrefined talent to win in the future.

I want to give Lawrence Frank the benefit of the doubt that those last two sentence come in tandem – that he meant you can’t develop players who aren’t doing what they should be doing and try to win. But even if that’s what he meant, I still have issues with it. Developing the team’s young players should be his No. 1 priority this season. I’m not advocating playing someone who does all the wrong things. But if he’s a mixed bag, maybe more minutes would get him on the right track.

UPDATE: Keith Langlois of Pistons.com has a very similar quote attributed to Frank, except it says the exact opposite:

“You can both develop players and try to win – that’s the name of the game.”

I’ve emailed both seeking clarification. I’ll update again when I get a response.

UPDATE II: Goodwill:

It should be "can". Must’ve been a typo or editors error.

So, we can stop worrying about Frank essentially saying he was a terrible coach, because that didn’t happen. Let’s go back to evaluating Frank based more on what he does, less on what he says. And while he might not give the young players as many minutes as we’d like, he played Andre Drummond 31 minutes last night, so that’s a definite step in the right direction.


  • Dec 6, 20122:14 pm
    by Oracle


    I think he’s saying that you develop players by giving them time and teaching them from their mistakes when they play. The opposite of that is “play to win the game,” if a young guy messes up, bench him. Play a starter who won’t mess up, try to win. Then your young talent sits on the bench and doesn’t develop. Once again, nothing to see here, Dan.

    • Dec 6, 20123:24 pm
      by Dan Feldman


      This doesn’t necessarily mean you’re wrong, but you read a quote that said the exact opposite of what Frank said and used that quote to defend Frank. Just consider that for a moment.

      • Dec 6, 20123:41 pm
        by Victor


        I wouldn’t argue with someone called “Oracle”.

      • Dec 6, 20123:57 pm
        by Oracle


        I’m not defending him. I just believe a team with raw young talent and mediocre veterans isn’t best served by strictly punishing mistakes, in favor of solid mediocrity. A team like the spurs can play to win and live with one young player out there. The pistons need to develop several at the same time. Harder to win that way.

        • Dec 6, 20124:02 pm
          by Oracle


          To further clarify: I defended what frank said, not his ability as a coach. The fact that he was misquoted doesn’t mean I change my opinion. It means I disagree with you and frank, instead of just you. Some people have their own opinions and dont blindly follow their coach. Think about that for a minute. 

  • Dec 6, 20122:19 pm
    by Al


    Soooo what is our plan then???? We cant win much and dont play the youth!! Just kinda float along this season and hope no one notices? Sighs, I was very excited going into the season but I’ve regressed almost back to the Kuester days…  I’ll take the bright spots when they do shine enough this season but man do they make things harder than they have to be in Detroit over the last couple of seasons.

    • Dec 6, 20122:42 pm
      by MIKEYDE248


      Please don’t bring up the Kuester days, I had blocked them out and don’t want them to return.

      If Frank is playing to win, don’t you think we should have more wins?

      We will go thru a whole year and not know anything new about the team, if we keep doing the same thing and all the players getting minutes will be playing for other teams next year.

  • Dec 6, 20122:55 pm
    by bugsygod


    THANK GOD this was updated and Frank was misquoted.    That would have been a ridiculous statement.

  • Dec 6, 20122:59 pm
    by Vic


    Can you find out if this was a typo because this is even worse - 

     This is my favorite quote from an Mlive article: ”We don’t get caught up into the numbers because there’s a whole lot more that goes into the game than just the numbers,” Frank said. 
    Someone please let him know that the game is decided by adding numbers together and seeing which team has more… 
    This is why I was so certain 8-10 games in that they were  tanking on purpose, this mentality absolutely makes no sense.
    Dec 6, 2012 • 2:19 pm
    If a guy can dominate both ends of the paint without giving 100%, you figure out how to get more out of him WHILE he helps you win, you don’t sit him on the bench for over half the game.


    by Vic

    And if the only tools you have to motivate players is subtracting minutes or general “process requirements”, that shows we really need a coach with actual NBA playing experience. Maybe even championship experience. Maybe even Pistons experience…. Bill Laimbeer anyone?????????

    Dec 6, 2012 • 2:24 pmby Vic

    I’mrealizing more and more why Tayshaun said we needed an experienced pg to help Knight out. He knew we needed someone to be the coach on the floor like jason kidd did with NJersey, Dallas, and now NYK.
    A true point guard is a valuable thing when your coach is inadequate to execute game winning decisions. 

    • Dec 6, 20123:52 pm
      by Vic


      Sorry for the extra signatures, it was all one train of thought and I didn’t want to type it all over again.

      One more thing: last night game proves something else that I’ve noticed since the first game against Houston – defending the paint also affects the three point line. Teams not only make the biggest runs in the paint when Drummond is on the bench but also the biggesr three point barrages come when he’s on the bench.

      • Dec 6, 20126:38 pm
        by gmehl


        That’s because when Drummond is on the bench our perimeter defenders have been collapsing down low to try and help out Maxiell and Moose. When they collapse it has left guys like James Harden, Steph Curry, Klay Thompson uncontested to shoot the 3 ball at will. The sooner we can ease Max into 1st big off the bench and Drummond into the starting lineup to compliment Moose with his defense the quicker this team will take a better shape to racking up regular W’s. Also we are last in scoring so what Joe does with the money leftover from cutting ties with Magette/Maxiell/Daye and amnestying CV is vital. He might be best served going after a stop gap scoring shooting guard until the season after next’s free agents rather than overpaying for one next season like he did with Ben Gordon.

  • Dec 6, 20123:10 pm
    by bugsygod


    Hey Patrick when will you be at a game, i would like to come meet you?

    • Dec 6, 20123:29 pm
      by Patrick Hayes


      Dude, I don’t want to know you even as an anonymous internet screen name, let alone meet you face to face. “Hey, you know who I’d like to spend my free time with? This ass who always misinterprets what I write and is an obnoxious jerk as an internet persona. Sign me up for that!’

      Sorry man, I’ve met all that I need to meet of you. 

      • Dec 6, 20124:29 pm
        by bugsygod


        OH, i forgot you dont actually go to the games.  You just watch on tv just like me.  phahahaha!  LAME!

        • Dec 6, 20124:32 pm
          by Patrick Hayes


          You watch the games? That’s perhaps the most shocking comment I’ve ever read on this site.

          Seriously though, good one? I guess? When have I ever presented myself as a credentialed beat reporter? Hell, when have I ever said I even want to be in that line of work? I’m completely happy toiling away working in PR man. I tried the journalism game. The fast food, the hours and the stress are not my thing. I’ll take what I do now, mixed with writing about ball in my spare time, any day.

  • Dec 6, 20123:12 pm
    by labatts


    i never did trust editors…

  • Dec 6, 20123:51 pm
    by frankie d


    how bad is the det news sports section?
    they do get paid, right? 
    how could goodwill or his editors have allowed that to go to print?
    and how long was it up there like that?
    another example of why i don’t read that rag, except when someone here or elsewhere points out something worth taking a look at…

  • Dec 6, 20124:40 pm
    by Vincent Goodwill


    It was a mistake in the editing process. Not sure how it happens but mistakes do. It was corrected in the online version with an addendum at the top and there will be a correction in tomorrow’s print edition. Apologies for the confusion and thanks to Dan for the email, pointing it out

  • Dec 6, 20125:20 pm


    “Unless you’re an organization that says, ‘All we’re doing is playing the young guys, it’s not about winning,’ then that’s one thing,” Frank said. “If your goal is to try to win, then your loyalty is to winning.

    He said that to…so the loyalty to winning is not playing the most talented?

  • Dec 6, 20125:49 pm
    by Gareth Masters


    Bit of a relief all round!

  • Dec 6, 20126:13 pm
    by piston moribund


    Deep breath, inhale exhale.  Sponge Bob called, he wants his friend back.  Some brevity please.

  • Dec 6, 201211:37 pm
    by Mel


    After reading the original article this dude is funny I wonder how many other coaches agree with his philosophy. I wonder where would the Bobcats be if they listen to this, even if they are 7-11 the team is playing more competitive and players are getting better.

  • Dec 7, 20129:47 am
    by Scott Free


    As far as I can tell theres no plans beyond banking on the talent we have and accumulating first round draft picks until Greg Monroe decides to play for a larger market.

  • Dec 7, 20129:55 am
    by revken


    Like everyone I’d like to see Drummond play more, but it’s not like he’s wired to the bench.  He’s already become one of our top reserves and is averaging 17 minutes per game.  That’s right about where Monroe was at this point as a rookie, and he was older and more skilled.  As long as Drummond’s role continues to increase based on strong performances like his last one, I feel good about how Frank is developing him.

  • Dec 7, 201210:05 am
    by D. Stewart


    Slava Kravtsov is being paid a little over $18,000 a game to watch the Pistons from the bench. He hasn’t had one minute of playing time this season. I don’t know about you, but I wish they would have let me know last summer that they were auditioning for that gig. I’m not 7 foot tall but I’d be more than willing to take Kravtsov’s spot on the bench for a mere 500 bucks a game. How about that, Gores? They say you’re a good business man. What say you save yourself a boat load of Benjamins? Pay me 500 bucks and save yourself $17,500 every game.  I promise I’ll do everything Slava does and maybe even throw in a couple of extras (free of charge). I’ve got a heck of a smile (if I do say so myself) and I look damn good in a suit.

  • Apr 15, 201411:50 pm
    by abercrombie qualit?


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