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Pistons players ‘constantly’ complained about Lawrence Frank: ‘He doesn’t listen. There’s no real relationship’

Vincent Goodwill of the Detroit News:

One thing I constantly heard from Pistons players was "he doesn’t listen, there’s no real relationship". How is that on anybody BUT Frank?

Lawrence Frank benched Jonas Jerebko after a poor start to the season, played Rodney Stuckey off the ball and made Corey Maggette a perpetual DNP-CD. I’d argue each of those moves, while not in the individual players’ best interest, were best for the Pistons.

Jerebko was shooting too much and not defending or rebounding enough. At that point, he didn’t deserve regular minutes. Giving other players a chance when the Pistons still had postseason hopes, even as long shots, made sense.

Though Stuckey plays better with the ball in his hands, the Pistons needed to give Brandon Knight an opportunity to sink or swim as a point guard, and relegating Stuckey to an off-the-ball role was the only way to accomplish that.

The Pistons also needed to develop young wings like Kyle Singler, Khris Middleton and Kim English. There was no point blocking their progress just to give Maggette minutes.

No team – and I literally mean no team – can put all its players in the best position to succeed. There will always be some degree of overlap between skillsets, so some players will have to take back seats or play at least somewhat outside their comfort zones.

The key for a coach is communicating with players so understand and at least tolerate this. Apparently, Frank didn’t do this effectively.

However, I don’t place all the blame on him. Players tend to be more willing to buy into winning teams, and Joe Dumars didn’t assemble a team that was definitely ready to win.

This sounds like a microcosm of Frank’s tenure. The Pistons failed him, but he failed the Pistons, too.


  • Apr 22, 201311:32 am
    by deusXango


    ????? So, what was really being said in this article? Was this just something to throw on the editors desk? As a Pistons fan I’m fed up with lame attempts to justify a position by just doing any old thing and expecting it fly! Shades of Joe Dumars.

  • Apr 22, 201312:15 pm
    by vic


    His job was to win. If he had made decisions to win, the communication would have been a little easier.

    Drummond on the bench doesn’t win
    Stuckey off the ball while BK turns it over doesn’t win

    These things were obvious from the beginning of the season and middle of the season respectively, when some of us assumed they were tanking purposefully by not making these decisons!

    Those were the key decisions that could have made everything else easier. Ups and downs are part of every players career, but its the coaches job to make winning decisions.


  • Apr 22, 201312:36 pm
    by mshansky


    I find it ironic that Mr Frank used his not-insignificant “communication skills” to land the job here in the first place. While he seems to do well with the “suits”, his basketball psychobabbling is unavailable to his players.

  • Apr 22, 201312:50 pm
    by Kaneda


    I live in Greece and today there have been multiple articles in Greek sports media linking Zeljko Obradovic to Detroit as our next head coach. He is definitely one of the greatest, if not the greatest and most accomplished European coach, but I’m not sure how well he would adapt to the NBA. If any of this is true it’s another very risky hiring by Dumars, which could pay huge dividends, but we could also be looking for another HC within a year or two. Thought I’d post about it on the site and maybe someone from the pistonpowered team can see if there is any truth to the rumors.  

  • Apr 22, 20131:07 pm
    by Edgar


    I’ll go with Jeff Van Gundy on this. These players lack basketball character.

    • Apr 22, 20131:31 pm
      by G


      A player will be more willing to go along with a coach if communication is better. If a coach just benches a guy & he doesn’t know why & the coach won’t tell him, what purpose does that serve? If the coach says “you’re doing a bad job of this so I’m sitting you until you’re ready”, the player can bitch about it or work on his game, but at least he knows where he stands.

  • Apr 22, 20132:30 pm
    by Ryank


    He doesn’t listen…sounds like he didn’t agree with what they were telling him…he did it his way instead of the player’s way.  The only reason this didn’t turn into a larger “in the media” problem is because of what happened with Kuester.  If they did the same thing to Frank, the media would have crucified them.  
    Frank is one of the best talkers in the NBA.  From what I’ve seen, he’s full of crap.  Either that or the players can’t get it.  He says the right things, but they didn’t execute what he said they would.  Maybe they don’t like him that’s why they didn’t execute what he wanted them to.
    It seemed like we were getting half ass performances most games.  Every now and then you’d see them work hard, but not on a nightly basis.  They were just going through the motions.  Was Frank that bad of a coach or does our team have character issues? 

  • Apr 23, 201312:08 am
    by frankie d


    imho, just another shoddy example of detroit sports journalism.
    if the beat writer for the largest daily newspaper “constantly” heard that the coach would not listen and that there was no relationship, how come this is the very first anyone has heard of that situation?
    how come there was not a hint of this previously?
    excuse me, but i think it would be news if the beat writer for a local professional sports team “constantly” heard such a thing from players, and it would therefore be something that should be reported on by that beat writer.
    the fact that he neglected to or refused to report something so important and so simple for two years says volumes about his true priorities.
    obviously, reporting news about the team and keeping readers informed took a back seat to other concerns.
    only good thing is that i certainly am not surprised, as this is just par for the course. 

    • Apr 23, 201312:28 am
      by oats


      Some guys do only say stuff like that off the record, and maybe now that Frank is gone they don’t mind it coming out without their names attached. This might not be all on Goodwill.

      • Apr 23, 201312:58 am
        by Otis


        Yes, but it’s disgusting the way the local media kowtows to Dumars. Happens all the time and this reeks of it. There’s only so much of this crap we can take before we start pointing fingers.

      • Apr 24, 20132:01 pm
        by frankie d


        lots of ways to publish that kind of important information without attributing it to a specific source, and protect anonymity at the same time.
        instead, the public was told over and over again that the frank locker room was a veritable lovefest, especially compared to the turmoil that happened under coach k and curry.
        sorry, just don’t see how a beat writer can allow that kind of incorrect image to persist, when he is apparently in possession of information, first hand, that such an image is utterly false.
        how can any self-respecting journalist perpetuate a false impression of what is going on in a team’s locker room, without adding some type of qualifier that reflects what he knows to be true from his own first hand conversations with players?
        and again, he doesn’t need to go anywhere near attributing quotes or ratting out his sources.   all he has to do is indicate, somehow, someway, that all is not glorious in pistonland.
        shoddy, shoddy journalism, at the least, and if i were to be less charitable, i could come up with, imho, an even more accurate description.

  • Apr 23, 20131:15 pm
    by George H


    All you had to do was watch the interaction between Frank and the players during timeouts.  Most of them were not listening to him, especially Moose.  The lack of interest in his comments was apparent even to a baskeball novice like myself.

  • Apr 24, 20138:10 pm
    by David Dollinger


    Typical Pistons team under Joe Dumars. Take a dump on the coach. Who the their right mind would ever want to be a coach in Detroit?  They even let a washed up Tracy McGrady take a dump on their coach. mediocre hear that Nate McMillen is the front runner for head coach. He is mediocre at best. But yet if you can’t get hired any where else you can get a paycheck to gsum treated like crap by the players and Dumars will do nothing to back you up. This franchise is a joke

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