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Joe Dumars: I provide input, but Lawrence Frank sets the lineup

David Mayo of MLive:

Q: How does your interaction with Lawrence Frank go as far as who he plays and certain player groupings? Everyone wants to see Drummond and Monroe play together, how does your interaction with him work as far as the direction you’re going?

A: I’ve never wavered from this. You allow the coach to make his coach’s decisions. We talk and he’ll ask me, ‘What do you think? What do you see?’ But at the end of the day, you have to allow the coach to make his decisions, it has to be his decisions. And then you support his decisions. You support whatever it is he’s trying to get done. But we talk every day, we talk about the roster, we talk about who’s playing well, we talk about who’s struggling. We converse about it every single day. But at the end of the day, the coach has to have the autonomy to play who he sees fit and deal with the roster as he sees fit. You have to give the coach that latitude and that respect and that autonomy.

I’m sure Lawrence Frank appreciates the freedom to coach how sees fit – as did John Kuester, Michael Curry and Flip Saunders.

In the short term, it can be healthy for a general manager to avoid micromanaging the head coach. But, ultimately, if Dumars doesn’t like how Frank sets the rotation, he’ll fire him. We’ve seen that process play multiple times already.

If Dumars approves of what Frank is doing, that’s one thing. If Dumars wants Frank to assign minutes differently – like, perhaps, playing Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond together – Dumars should communicate that. I think allowing the coach latitude is a noble idea in theory, but it shouldn’t be done in spite of what Dumars sees as best for the franchise.


  • Jan 3, 201312:39 pm
    by MIKEYDE248


    Dumars has fired plenty of coaches that were/are much better than Frank.  Who wouldn’t want to have Rick Carlisle, Flip or Larry Brown back over Frank?

    Maybe now would be a good time to try out a new one…Avery Johnson?

    • Jan 3, 201312:42 pm
      by Crispus


      Seeing as how Avery Johnson might have actually stifled Deron Williams I don’t know that he’s the right guy for our situation. Don’t get me wrong I perked up too when I heard he was available, but he could set back the already precarious Brandon Knight PG experiment.

      • Jan 3, 201312:55 pm
        by Keith


        If we’re already looking for new coaches, I’d love to get Jerry Sloan. He puts his PGs in position to succeed, and knows how to utilize a passing big man with defensive issues at PF. Get him to teach Knight-Drummond how to run a pick and roll, and suddenly we start maximizing our best players all together.

      • Jan 4, 20132:31 pm
        by jamesjones_det


        Larry was known for “stifling” PGs too, but he did worlds of good for CB’s game.
        Maybe Deron should grow up already and take some advise, Deron is a good player but he looks to be a headcase waiting to happen these days.

  • Jan 3, 201312:56 pm
    by sebastian


    Solution: Fire L. Frank and hire Isiah Thomas. Zeke loves the Pistons. Isiah would be great tutor to B. Knight. Zeke would play the young players and put Singler in his most effective role as 8th or 9th-man and keep Stuckey in his most effective role, as 6th-man; and probably would be wise enough to give English some starts at the “2″. Fans would return to the Palace.The Pistons would win, again!

    • Jan 3, 20131:41 pm
      by Marcus


      I agree buddy, but Dumars won’t hire his friends. Everyone knows that Laimber deserved a shot. I also believe he still honors the late owner Davidson’s wishes to never give Zeek a piece of the pie. Isaiah would flourish with this team. Brandon Knight would learn so much from the greatest point guard ever!!!

  • Jan 3, 20131:11 pm
    by Keith


    As for the article, it feels like there isn’t much to glean. Dumars says they talk all the time, and that he is often asked for input. It doesn’t sound like Dumars isn’t expressing what he sees and wants. And it’s also the typical “say something that means nothing” move that smart players learn in their career. He says he gives autonomy and respect, and that he supports Frank. It’s the same thing you hear from a blue-collar kind of player when asked why a teammate had a bad game (“Maybe to you he took to many shots, but they were all good looks and I know he can make them”).
    I have felt for years now that Joe is too lenient/hands off. That’s a good thing most of the time, letting coaches be coaches and all. But at a higher level it’s led to a complete lack of team identity and direction. He’s always letting each coach do his thing, but then firing that coach before anything long term can be built. Since Joe has been ceding the direction of the team to each coach, suddenly we have a bunch of ill fitting parts from different regimes every couple years. That can work to some degree when you have great players – veterans who are versatile enough to play in any system – but it’s a recipe for sustained failure working with rookies and still learning young players.

  • Jan 3, 20133:48 pm
    by David


    Dumars can do one thing to influence lineups: As GM, the roster (not the lineup) is his responsibility. If he wants to give Drummond more playing time, trading Maxiel for a guard would probably accomplish that.

  • Jan 3, 20133:53 pm
    by Ryank


    Dumars would find it harder to fire a coach if he’s telling the coach what to do.  Frank has been far from perfect, but he’s better then the last two clowns.  Flip…he didn’t care about defense.  LB…great coach, but way too much drama.  Carlisle…he improved greatly after leaving the Pistons…he made a lot of errors when he coached here.

    • Jan 3, 201310:43 pm
      by tarsier


      Defense may not have been Flip’s specialty, but every coach cares about D. Even D’Antoni. And it’s not like Detroit’s defense fell off much when Saunders replaced Brown.

  • Jan 4, 20137:34 am
    by DG


    Frank is not a great in game tactician.  But he has done well with player development.  Since the Pistons best players are young and need developing, Frank is the man for the job right now.  I would argue that part of Drummond’s success is based as much on the Pistons using him properly to this point — not asking him to do too much.  Hell Frank even seems to have Daye and Villanueva developing a bit.  Singler exceeded his draft position for a while.  He seems to figure out, albeit slowly, how to best use each player.  He just is lousy at in game adjustments.  

    Larry Brown, by contrast, was partially responsible for Darko’s demise.  He was lousy at player development but a great in game adjuster.  Maybe Joe has learned something from his coaching decision mistakes.

    • Jan 4, 201312:47 pm
      by ZekeKhaseli


      Frank gave the credits to the assistant coach for the bench player’s developments. Albeit, he seems to be very precise about bringing Drummond slowly. 

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