Frank Talk

Lawrence Frank’s hiring means a lot for fans of the Pistons.  Not only does his hiring mean that the Pistons have an experienced new coach, it signals a new direction for the franchise and a power shift within the front office.

Frank is an experienced coach that most Pistons fans have probably heard of before he was hired here in Detroit.  He got his first head coaching job after being promoted by the Nets in the middle of the 2003-2004 season.  Frank set a league record by winning his first 13 games as a head coach.  He went on to coach the Nets for six seasons before being fired in 2010 after the Nets started the season 0-16.  He spent last season working as the lead assistant coach for Doc Rivers and the Celtics.

Unlike the previous two coaches, Frank is a head coach with experience and respect around the league.  Hopefully he learned some things while coaching working with Rivers.  The best case scenario is for him to be like another Rivers assistant Tom Thibodeau.  Last year he turned the Chicago Bulls into a contender and a dangerous Eastern Conference team.

I personally am not a fan of Lawrence Frank.  I don’t think he really adds anything as a coach.  While he was coaching the Nets, they got progressively worse, culminating with his firing after the 0-16 start.  Obviously several factors played into it, such as the fact that he inherited what was already an old team that only got older.  The team he inherits here is younger, but still very veteran laden.

In the place of Frank I would have loved to see the Pistons hire Mike Woodson, Brian Shaw or even Bill Laimbeer.  Woodson’s time as the head coach of the Atlanta Hawks showed me he is a coach who can handle a team and lead them to success.  He has some familiarity with the veterans like Rip Hamilton and Tayshaun Prince from his time as an assistant under Larry Brown.   Brian Shaw is a seven-year assistant under Phil Jackson of the Los Angeles Lakers.  He was passed over by the Lakers for their head coaching vacancy, so they must have some concerns about his ability to handle a team.  Laimbeer is looking for his first NBA head coaching job, after having success as a player in the NBA and a coach in the WNBA.  It is interesting, because I think he would potentially bring the fans back into the arena, but is certainly the least experienced of the three.

The decision to hire Frank signals a shift of power in the front office of the Pistons.  Reports said that Joe Dumars favored Woodson, but new owner Tom Gores and his new team featuring former Knicks executive Dave Checketts were the ones that wanted Frank.  We could be on our way to seeing Joe Dumars losing his role as the GM of the Pistons and Checketts or someone else being brought in.

Dumars’ once sterling track record has become pretty spotty in recent years.  He still has an eye for talent, finding players like Will Bynum and Jonas Jerebko overseas, but he has seemed to struggle with free agents and contracts.  He handed out massive contracts to Rip Hamilton, Ben Gordon, Charlie Villanueva and Jason Maxiell.  Even at the time these seemed like a bad idea and have only looked worse since then.  Maybe with Checketts and Gores reigning in his spending, it will allow him to focus on finding talented players to fill out the roster.

Lawrence Frank gives the Pistons and interesting new piece and his arrival certainly ushers in a new era in Detroit.  Fans should not expect an instant turnaround but over the next two to three years we could see a team develop in Detroit that fans can get behind.

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