Let me dust off the cobwebs…
Sorry you guys, Natalie and I have been busy doing life related things, and have not had a chance to update the site as frequently as we would like in the last few weeks. We both know that while there is not a lot of positive things going on, a coaching search still happened during this lockout downtime. While most of us weren’t thrilled with the options available for Head Coaching candidates, in my opinion we got the best of the available bunch.
So… Lawrence Frank, what do we know about him?
- Born in New York and raised in New Jersey.
- Did not make any organized basketball teams during his time in High School.
- Volunteered to be a manager for the Indiana Hoosiers Men’s Basketball for 4 seasons under legendary coach, Bob Knight.
- Has a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Education.
- Served as an Assistant Coach under current USC Men’s Basketball Team Coach Kevin O’Neill’s staff at the University of Tennessee after working as a staff assistant with O’Neill at Marquette University for 2 years.
- Current Pistons’ Assistant Coach Brian Hill (my original recommendation for the coaching job) had Frank as an Assistant Coach on his staff with the expansion Vancouver Grizzlies team.
- Frank was named Interim Head Coach of the New Jersey Nets during the 2003-2004 NBA season after Byron Scott was fired.
- Frank became the permanent Head Coach after the season, in which he started 13-0 which set a record for most consecutive coaching victories to start a career.
- Frank was fired from his position as Head Coach of the Nets during the 2009-2010 season, just after Thanksgiving. The Nets began the season 0-16.
- Frank spent some time as an on-air analyst for NBATV during the 2009-2010 season.
- Boston Celtics Head Coach Doc Rivers hired Frank to takeover the Assistant Head Coaching spot left vacant by Tom Thibodeau when Thibs left to become the new Head Coach of the Chicago Bulls.
- Frank, alongside Rivers, helped the Celtics advance to the 2011 Eastern Conference Semi-Finals where they lost to Joel Anthony and the rest of the eventual Eastern Conference Champion, Miami Heat.
- Frank has a career record of 225-241 which is a .483 winning percentage.
- Frank’s style has always been balanced defense and offense. Motion based offense, primarily because of the backcourt he had in New Jersey. The offense will work in a halfcourt set, like we’re all used to seeing as Pistons’ fans.
- The defense will likely revert back to a little of what we saw with Larry Brown, as far as sets are concerned. Frank ran a trapping half court set that would jump back and forth from zone to man according to matchups.
- Frank has coached some good players in his time as a Coach in this league: KG, Paul Pierce, Jason Kidd, Ray Allen and Vince Carter just to name a few.
- Frank is highly respected around the league, as evidence to his hiring to be Doc Rivers’ primary Assistant in Boston, replacing Thibodeau.
I’ve been hoping that Detroit would select Frank because, as you heard me say in the last podcast, it’s time for the Pistons to break out of their “roots”. It’s nice and sentimental to hire old, familiar faces from the by-gone era of the franchise. Allowing another 1st year Head Coach (Laimbeer) to come in and flounder in his first year or two not only puts Joe Dumars’ job at risk, but it doesn’t give new owner Tom Gores’ and his Platinum team a potential high reward. Frank is a low risk, high reward hiring. He has shown he has the ability to “coach up” his teams, as evidenced by the 13-0 start to his career after the Byron Scott firing. He will also be a good Head Coach to have in place while building a team, and re-establishing the “Piston Way” of doing things since he is a defensive minded coach, who typically runs a half court “motion” offense which has been the Pistons “bread and butter” for years.
He has coached teams that have had a lot of talent, and then some that have had little talent. Consider Frank to be a more experienced Rick Carlisle (pre Dallas Mavs, Carlisle), and take back what Joe said after he hired John Kuester, (and I’m paraphrasing) “This team is in the pre-Rick Carlisle stage. They’re poised for another run”.
This team is far from another run, unless the new CBA allows for them to not only dump a bad contract (via Amnesty Clause in the last CBA) but also to trade bad contracts to another team to clear cap space. A single player base of rookie sensation Greg Monroe is a strong start to build around. Monroe has shown that he truly does have the heart of a Piston and is willing to do whatever the team needs him to do to win.
Frank is a safe choice to be the next Head Coach of the Pistons. We’ve all read the negative things about him: “He lost the team in New Jersey” or “his last year started off 0-16” or “He’s not as good as his 13-0 start” or “he should’ve gotten more out of that Nets team that featured Vince Carter, Jason Kidd and Richard Jefferson”. Frank will give this team the stability it has lacked in the Head Coaching position for the last 6 seasons because of his demeanor, work ethic, relative youth, and experience in dealing with the attitudes that come along with “entitled” athletes.