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Greg Monroe: Lawrence Frank has ‘done a good job here’

Greg Monroe on Lawrence Frank, via Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press:

“Yeah, I think he’s done a good job here,” Monroe said before tonight’s game against the Cavs. “There are a lot guys that have been in and out and new players here. I think once he gets a group of guys, a core that you know will be here, I think it’ll be easier for him.”

Frank has underwhelmed in Detroit, but there have been no glaring signs he’s lost his players. Coming off Michael Curry and John Kuester, that’s progress – maybe not enough progress to save Frank’s job, but progress nonetheless.


  • Apr 10, 20132:14 pm
    by Desolation Row


    I don’t think Frank is a great coach. But he’s stabilized things a bit. Personnel changes obviously made that possible too, but Frank accomplished what I think was the primary goal. Yes, results have still been underwhelming, but I sincerely doubt another coaching change will make an impact unless a)he’s lost the players (doesn’t seem like he has) or b) we can land a coach who can definitely make a solid impact. But swapping Frank for someone like Byron Scott, etc. is just layering on another band-aid to the gushing wound. 

  • Apr 10, 20132:47 pm
    by Tom Y.


    Agreed on both counts – he’s done a better job than most previous coaches, and it’s also not good enough. Not when they’re probably gonna make some significant moves in the summer and want to move the team in a better direction.

  • Apr 10, 20133:33 pm
    by deusXango


    The removal of the teams malcontents (all but Stuckey) and the infusion of youth who are wild-eyed with the need to prove themselves, has gone a long way toward changing the culture of the team more than anything else; these players have high character. I don’t think it’s fair to give Frank all the credit for that.

    The fact that the players haven’t openly revolted against Frank doesn’t mean he’s a good coach, a fair and practical coach, and a coach who can achieve positive results. I think he should be held to the standards of every other coach, and that’s results at the end of the day; today his record in Detroit sucks! 

    • Apr 10, 20134:56 pm
      by vic



      “The fact that the players haven’t openly revolted against Frank doesn’t mean he’s a good coach, a fair and practical coach, and a coach who can achieve positive results.”

      when you have two potentially top 10 big men, a top 6 draft pick, and tons of cap space, your goal for a coach is “can they make winning decisions” not “mutiny avoidance” 

      Frank has not maximized the little he has, so why give him more?

      • Apr 10, 20136:07 pm
        by frankie d


        exactly.  the frank apologists are ridiculous.
        he hasn’t been abjectly horrible so he should maybe get another shot…
        he “stabalized” things here and therefore he’s done his job.
        everyone here seems to think that everyone has a short term memory problem.
        everyone – the owner, the players, the coach, the fans – were talking playoffs.  the “primary” goal, according to everyone, was at least a legit run at the playoffs.
        last year’s end of the season .500 run was supposed to herald the start of a turnaround for the team.  just wait till the next season started, we were told.
        that nasty old beginning of the season losing streak was something in our rear view mirrors, a remnant of the strike, a new coach and a few new players.  this year, we were told, was the start of the real lawrence frank era.
        and now?….now, he’s been successful because his players haven’t hung him in effiigy?
        on what planet do these folks live?
        do they think everyone just forgets what has been said in the past if it doesn’t conform with their present day reality? 
        this fan hasn’t forgotten.
        and by any reasonable metric, frank has been a total failure.
        the evidence on that issue is clear. 
        frank’s supporters are a joke.  lots of these same folks ridicule curry despite the fact that he had a much better record and if anyone should get a mulligan, it is the coach who has to endure an in-season trade that guts your team.  but somehow, someway a guy like frank deserves to be given a break despite the fact that the last two years are strangely similar to all of his recent failed seasons. 

        • Apr 10, 20136:48 pm
          by oats


          I think a lot of fans are too negative about Frank. He isn’t that bad. The obvious problem with that stance is that not that bad shouldn’t be good enough to keep his job. If he was average I’d be willing to keep him for another year or two while the team continues rebuilding, but he’s clearly in the range that is considered bad. Yeah, he absolutely should be canned for that.

        • Apr 10, 20137:22 pm
          by sebastian


          Amen, brother!!!

          • Apr 10, 20137:23 pm
            by sebastian

            The “Amen, brother!!!” comment is in response to everything that frankie d. said, above.

        • Apr 10, 20137:37 pm
          by Desolation Row


          a) You’re way overrating the talent on this team
          b) I’m not saying Frank’s a good coach. I’m merely saying that the alternatives to Frank should be weighed. If we’re just getting another coach of similar caliber, does change for the sake of it really signify progress? Wouldn’t establishing a new system instead of consistency just set us back?
          b.1) How much of an impact does a coach really have over the success of a team?
          b.2) Do any of us really know how much Frank had to say in who played and who didn’t? What if Dumars wanted to boost Maxiell’s trade value at the start of the season and directed Frank to play him more? 
          c) Drummond turned out better than advertised. Not saying Frank had anything to do with it. But not saying he had nothing to do with it either. Regardless, his “process” didn’t ruin Drummond’s career.  
          d) I don’t think you’ll find any die-hard Frank fans anywhere. Or even Frank fans. But just firing and hiring coaches left and right is a distraction. I’d rather Dumars focus on changing players, not coaches. If we can get a coach whose pedigree will attract better players, I’m all for it. If we can get a coach with an established pedigree or good reason to believe he’d be more successful than Frank, right away and without the pains of establishing “his system”, fine. But just wanting to fire someone blindly is irrational when the chief complaint you have is that he underperformed with an awful team of young players is purely irrational. 
          e) How do you ever hope to convince a great coach to come coach in Detroit if we keep upholding our rep of carouselling coaches in and out?

          If Jerry Sloan or JVG/SVG or LB or Phil Jackson or a future Rick Carlisle want to come coach in Detroit, I’d be front and center advocating for their hire. In the meantime, I say we send Dre and Monroe to Olajuwon and have him work on their low post games.   

        • Apr 11, 20139:13 am
          by G


          Reading frankie d’s comment was like reading a Coleridge poem, expect I didn’t feel like I got anything out of it.

  • Apr 11, 201312:02 pm
    by frankie d


    well, let me break it down so that even the most feebleminded can get something out of what i’ve posted…
    frank is a lousy coach.  or rather, he has been a lousy coach in detroit and for some time in the nba.
    mind you, imho, most nba coaches are mediocre/lousy, so he is not unusual in that respect.  however, the goal of any organization should be to avoid simply recycling one of the nba’s crop of mediocre coaches who is simply waiting to assume a head coach’s seat somewhere in the league.  
    (joe dumars pulled off one of the league’s toughest moves when he hired carlisle out of nowhere way back when.  one of joe’s best moves ever, and hopefully he still has the knowledge and the nerve to find that sort of gem once more.)
    and the most current and common argument of frank’s defenders – that he may be bad, but he should stay unless we are guaranteed a better head coach – is so absurd that it surprises me that any sentient being would give voice to it.  
    of course, no organization ever knows exactly what they will get when they make a new hire.  outside of the top tiers of nba coaches – larry brown, pop, phil jackson, and to a lesser extent, thibideau,  george karl, carlisle, nate mcmillan, doc rivers, a couple of others who shall be ignored now – it’s all a crapshoot.  you have to do your due diligence, make your decision and then hope that you’re right.   especially if you’re giving a young guy is first shot at the head coach’s job.  as noted, joe d hit the jackpot once, with carlisle, and maybe he can do it again.
    but the idea of sticking with a lousy coach because you don’t have the confidence that someone succeeding him will be better is like staying in a lousy marriage because you don’t want to face the uncertainty of being a single person.  i guess lots of folks do exactly that, but it doesn’t make it any less dumb.

    • Apr 11, 201312:25 pm
      by G


      I was mainly talking about the format of your comment, which makes it harder to read than Coleridge’s Kubla Khan, and he was on opium when he wrote that.

    • Apr 11, 201312:50 pm
      by G


      Now addressing your actual comment, would you say that Frank is a better or worse coach than Michael Curry and John Kuester? That’s something to consider before you fire a guy before his contract is up. It’s wise to consider your alternatives before chucking Frank. 

      Also, Dumars has a history of being a coach killer, and firing a well-liked guy (and make no mistake, L. Frank is well-liked) would not help his chances at getting one of the top names available. I think most people here agree the ideal scenario is Frank takes the Rutgers job and Dumars gets McMillian or somebody like that. If that doesn’t happen, firing Frank a year early could hurt the team more than it helps.

  • Apr 11, 20131:51 pm
    by frankie d


    is frank a better or worse coach than kuester or curry?
    i don’t know.  i think the judgment on either kuester or curry – and especially curry – has to be looked at with a great deal of context.
    kuester’s pistons were a horror, largely due to joe d’s bungling.  the rip/bg situation was ridiculous.  bringing in guys like tracey mcgrady was also a huge mistake.  it is hard to determine just what kind of coach kuester could be if given a reasonable, stable roster that wasn’t ready to implode on him.
    same thing with curry.  curry especially deserves a mulligan, imho, because of the circumstances foisted upon him.
    no need to go over the gory details other than to say that those of us who were concerned about AI, both as an on-court presence and as a locker room presence, were proven correct.  it is extraordinarily difficult to see how curry can be judged, as a coach, with that nonsense exploding all around him.  he did, however, provide the team with the best record it has had, post conference finals teams.  it is therefore tough to understand how curry can be viewed as the absolute worst coach of the last bunch.  he might be.  my view is that it is/was impossible to make a reasoned judgment on his coaching ability, considering the hand and roster joe d stuck him with.
    frank, however, has had a long run under several very different circumstances.   he took over someone  else’s team and had a modicum of success.  he faced a situation similar to curry’s and had even less success than curry had.  he came here with a team that was looked at as being on the rise and he’s failed miserably.  as they say, the sample is adequate.  whether that makes him a better/worse coach than those other two is something the next 20 years will make known.
    he is not a good coach.  but as i said, i think most nba coaches fit into that mediocre frame and it takes a very good judge of men to find that young diamond in the rough, as dumars once did with carlisle.
    my choice is derek fisher.  he’s essentially been a coach for the last 3-4 years of his career.  teams have not been signing him for his playing ability.  teams that are in contention like having him around because it is like having a coach on the floor and in the locker room.  
    in my mind he is a no brainer and especially a no brainer for a young team  like detroit.  he’s got the rings, he has the respect of the players, he obviously has great presence and a decent amount of knowledge.  he can always hire a guy like frank to do the x’s and o’s.  there is a reason phil jackson kept tex winter around all those years.
    i see no way that firing a mediocre/bad coach hurts.  the key, obviously, is making sure you get the next hire right. 

    • Apr 11, 20132:14 pm
      by G


      Firing mediocre/bad coaches is fine by me. It becomes problematic when that’s all you do for… I don’t know, the last 5 years? At that point something is a) wrong with your evaluation process or b) wrong with your team.

      Curry was a disaster as a coach, as a X’s and O’s guy, in-game adjustments, and at handling egos. Kuester was a better X’s and O’s guy but still bad at the other 2 things. Frank is maybe a little better at X’s and O’s than Kuester, still not good at in-game adjustments, but WAY better at handling egos. 

  • Apr 11, 20132:16 pm
    by G


    Curry will probably never get a mulligan. I won’t say DEFINITELY, because Art Shell got one and he didn’t deserve it, but Curry and Kuester went down in flames so badly that it looks highly improbable that they’d get another shot. 

  • Apr 11, 20132:39 pm
    by frankie d


    as i said about curry previously, i fail to see how anyone can judge what he did, considering the disaster joe d tossed into his lap.  after AI came on board, until he left, it always appeared that curry coached with one eye on the game and one eye glued on AI, trying to make certain he wasn’t about to go south on him.  an impossible situation. he may not get another chance, though i doubt it.  i think he’ll get another shot, sometime, and then we’ll see whether that one year was truly indicative of his skills or whether he was a victim of joe d’s roster.
    also, if he was so bad a coach, and frank is so good, how come frank’s record is so lousy? i will always give a coach a break for one or two years where they are stuck with poor gm decisions or catastrophic injuries.  for instance, philly’s record this year means nothing in terms of collins’ as a coach.    unfortunately for frank, his poor record spans two different teams and at least two different sets of circumstances.    and he has been consisently bad.
    and simply by way of observation, i don’t see any great x’s and o’s coming from frank.  the team routinely botches plays out of time outs and end of game plays.  whenever one of his drawn up plays works, it sticks out like a sore thumb.  the only time the team has looked as though it had the semblence of a decent offense has been when calderone has run it.  otherwise, it’s looked like a rudderless mess without any real design.
    a good x’s and o’s coach comes in and imposes their way of doing things.  it may or may not work, but you can see the design as it is implemented.  with frank, exactly what type of structure has he given the pistons?  what has been his contribution?  how does the team reflect frank’s vision as a coach?  so far, i cannot come up with a good answer.
    yea, frank sounds like he knows what he is talking about, but when you watch the product on the floor, it don’t look so good… 

    • Apr 11, 20132:56 pm
      by G


      Did I say “great at X’s and O’s” or “maybe better than Kuester”? I believe it was the second one.  Anyway, Frank’s X’s and O’s strengths lie mainly on the defensive side of the ball, and there he has next to nothing to work with. Who are the best 2 defensive players on the team? Probably Drummond and Knight, and that has more to do with athletic ability than anything else. 

      Veterans can undermine a coach’s authority, like they did with Curry and Kue, but they also know the game and know where to be on the court. Curry inherited a team that had gone to the ECF the year before. Dumars stuck him in a bad situation, but if you’re absolving Curry of any blame, you’re crazy. I don’t see how Kuester is defensible.

      This team is too inexperienced and none of them understand how NBA team defense works. Some of this is on Frank, implementing a bad defensive scheme, but a lot is also on the players making poor decisions while on the court. I think Frank is probably worse than 70% of the coaches in the league, but Curry and Kue were in the bottom 1%.

      • Apr 11, 20133:18 pm
        by frankie d


        i’ve never absolved curry of “any” blame.
        i’ve consistently stated that it is impossible to determine what kind of head coach he was because of the circumstances.  i’m fairly agnostic.  i just don’t know.
        funny you should mention curry and the benefits of having vets.  many would argue that frank was in exactly that situation in NJ and when he lost the benefit of his old vets essentially running the team for him, he failed miserably as a coach.  
        my point about frank is simple.  
        he’s been an nba head coach for what…9 seasons.  he has a lousy record.  his tenure has spanned two different teams and at least a couple, in fact, i’d argue 3 different sets of circumstances.  the only time he had any success at all was when he was essentially using someone else’s team and system.  once he had to start from scratch and implement his own systems – in NJ and detroit – he’s failed miserably.
        any player in the nba can become at least a competent defensive player, given the right system.  pop proves that in SA all of the time.  karl does the same thing in denver.
        if frank was any kind of x’s and o’s coach, defensively, the pistons would already see the benefit of his coaching.  they haven’t.  while they’ve given up fewer points recently, to a large degree that is the result of their glacial pace, one of the slowest in the league.  he’s had two years to put his system, defensively, in place and the team still has no real defensive identity.  even now, with one of the league’s premier defensive centers in the fold.
        sorry, but the jury is in on frank.
        i think the jury is still out on the other two guys.

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