While it hasn’t been officially announced, it is widely known that Lawrence Frank will be named the next head coach for the Detroit Pistons.
This is a win for a variety of reasons:
- Lawrence Frank understands that there are two sides to the court, one of them being defensive. The Pistons rank as one of the worst defensive teams in the NBA. Detroit claims the worst differential regarding points in the paint, grab the fewest rebounds, and are generally poor at protecting the basket.
The Pistons had enough players of the scoring variety, as Ben Gordon has a career high of 21.4ppg, Richard Hamilton 20.1, Rodney Stuckey 16.6, Charlie Villanueva at 16.2, and Tayshaun Prince at 14.7ppg. Considering that Austin Daye is largely an offensive threat and that Greg Monroe and Jonas Jerebko can reach double-digits without having many plays ran for them, a coach that emphasizes defense is a must in the project of returning the Pistons to competence.
- He’s not a first-year coach! Unlike the recently-fired John Kuester and former Piston Michael Curry, Lawrence Frank, Frank coached for parts of seven seasons in the NBA and spent a season learning from Doc Rivers.
Kuester was an apprentice of the largely incompetent Mike Brown (now HC of the LAL) with Cleveland, and Curry learned from Flip Saunders the season that the entirety of the Pistons roster tuned Flip out. Frank spent a season learning from a championship-bearing coach before jumping back into things.
- The Pistons are finally distancing themselves from the 2004 championship formula by hiring from outside of the franchise. Mike Woodson, formerly of the Atlanta Hawks, was an assistant to Larry Brown the last time we won a ‘ship, and Detroit is better off by not overvaluing components of that title run. A coach who won’t favor Richard Hamilton or Ben Wallace or Tayshaun Prince (if he returns) will go a long way in winning back control of the locker room.
It’s enough that general manager Joe Dumars has tried to replicate the 2004 roster (Rodney Stuckey=Chauncey Billups w/o jumper; Richard Hamilton=himself, Ben Gordon=Mike James; Tayshaun Prince=himself; Austin Daye=Tayshaun Prince, offensive version; Charlie Villanueva=Rasheed Wallace; Ben Wallace=himself, etc…), and it’s about time for a coach that will look to embrace the differences in ability and talent between our current core and the old regime.
- The Pistons are a guard-heavy team, and Lawrence Frank has coached some of the best. With Boston he had the pleasure of working with Rajon Rondo, third in assists average last season, and Ray Allen, one of the purest shooters in league history. His stint in New Jersey saw him manage Jason Kidd, arguably a top five PG of all time, and Devin Harris, currently a mismanaged top 10 floor general. If there was anybody available that could mold Rodney Stuckey into a genuine PG, it’s Lawrence Frank.
- Frank has time to assemble his staff and adequately evaluate his personnel during the lockout. By hiring Frank in a timely fashion, Lawrence will have more preparation than the average off-season coach hire would. He’ll need it, as somebody needs to figure out how to improve the team’s presence in the paint with marginal talent, as well as how to involve all of our backcourt threats (Stuckey, Hamilton, Gordon, Will Bynum, Brandon Knight) until a trade is completed.