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Monthly Archives: July 2011

Lawrence Frank is not Bill Laimbeer. Happy Regardless!

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.
Under different circumstances, such as the Pistons coming out of the draft with FC Bismack Biyombo, I would have advocated for the hiring of Rick Adelman, formerly of the Houston Rockets and renowned for his successes with the Sacramento Kings.  He would have known how to best take advantage of the passing and playmaking abilities of bigs Greg Monroe and Charlie Villanueva, as Chris Webber and Vlade Divac dazzled with their ball movement and high-low post game in Sacramento.  I am frustrated that there are no reports of the Pistons reaching out to Adelman when he’s been in contact with the clusterfuck Minnesota Timberwolves about their vacant position.
While Bill Laimbeer was passed over for the head coaching position, I am still holding out hope for him to return to the franchise he loves as a big man specialist and lead assistant.  Laimbeer made a career out of rebounding and hustling despite mediocre athletic ability and he’d be a great example for Villanueva and Monroe and Jonas Jerebko to follow.
The Detroit Pistons did the right thing by doing their homework on all the head coaching candidates (aside from Adelman, ugh) and taking their time before settling on the right man for the job.  It is unclear whether Joe Dumars or new owner Tom Gores is more responsible for the decision, but either way, it was a correct one.  I’ll be excited to see if Frank can become the Pistons longest-tenured coach since Flip Saunders (three seasons), hoping that we have finally found somebody that can match Chuck Daly’s nine years with the Pistons.
 
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Posted by on July 28, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

http://www.freep.com/article/20110712/SPORTS03/107120379/1048/sports According to Tayshaun Prince’s agent, Bill Duffy, the Pistons had reached out to him about their desire to have him return prior to the lockout. A couple questions arise: a) Why would the Pistons want him back? b) Would Tayshaun consider returning? c) How much could/would/should his new contract be worth?

The Pistons depth chart, assuming no free agents return, all drafted rookies get a roster spot, and seniority is largely determined by salary:
PG Rodney Stuckey (QO or extension)/Brandon Knight/Will Bynum
SG Ben Gordon or Richard Hamilton/Terrico White*
SF Austin Daye/Jonas Jerebko/Kyle Singler
PF Charlie Villanueva/Jason Maxiell
C Greg Monroe/Ben Wallace/Vernon Macklin

Flexibility helps us out, as Stuckey loses no effectiveness by sliding over to SG, nor do Jonas Jerebko or Greg Monroe at PF.  Daye has also had some success at SG. as has Richard Hamilton at SF.

If we have four players capable of playing SF, is there really any room for Tayshaun Prince if he were to return?

  • The Pistons have invested in Austin Daye, giving him 20 minutes a game last season.  He was said to be a 3-4 year project when he was drafted in 2009, and when the lockout ends we’ll be entering season 3.
  • Two seasons ago, during Jonas Jerebko’s roookie season, he was a starter for the Pistons at SF and was at times our best player and always the most consistent.  The only reason he doesn’t have the a stronghold over the starting position is his long recovery from an achilles injury.
  • Kyle Singer was drafted early in the second round of the 2011 draft, and he is considered one of the most NBA ready players entering the league.  His toughness and intangibles at the position are intriguing, to say the least.
  • As I’ve mentioned before, the best way to get both the values of Ben Gordon and Richard Hamilton up are to give them the minutes they deserve, and Hamilton’s may have to come at the SF position.
It is clear to me that the Pistons have already invested quite a bit into these four men, and that Joe’s reputation is at stake if any more of his draft picks don’t pan out or if he is unable to move or justify the contract given to Hamilton.
Tayshaun has had to endure three consecutive losing seasons and three different coaches in four seasons; I highly doubt he’d be willing to experience a fourth in five.  He is already 31 years old with more wear on his tires than the average player his age.  He has played in nearly a season and a half’s worth of postseason games and has had two summers of international competition on top of that.  At this point in his career, he’s either looking for one last payday, the best chance at a championship, or both.  The Pistons will have the ability to offer him the most money for the most seasons, but he could get comparable offers from other teams that would compete with the Pistons’ deal.  He has made, according to http://www.basketball-reference.com, some $52.2 million over his career, so another team willing to give him 15 or so million over three years should be enough to entice him to leave regardless of what Detroit offers.
I’m suspicious that this news was leaked by Prince’s agent to drum up preemptive interest in his client.  It really is in the best interests of both parties for Tayshaun to move on to a contender, which the Pistons do not project to be for quite some time.  Here are some teams that ought to display mutual interest:
  • The Oklahoma City Thunder-backing up and sometimes playing alongside Kevin Durant, displacing Daequan Cook and Thabo Sefolosha.  Assuming the salary cap remains in the new CBA and isn’t lowered, they would have the cap space to sign Tayshaun to a fair deal outright.
  • The Los Angeles Clippers-Tayshaun is from Compton, California, and they have a glaring hole at the SF position.  The opportunity to play alongside a franchise player in Blake Griffin, alongside strong play from the center position in DeAndre Jordan and Chris Kaman, could be too much for Prince to pass up.  If he helps build up the team before he retires, he and the fans would likely be satisfied in his decision to head to the West Coast.
  • The Houston Rockets-Barely missing the playoffs last season, the Rockets have decent pieces in place with SG Kevin Martin and PF Luis Scola.  After making several moves lately, acquiring Prince could be enough to push them over the hump.  His competition at SF would be Courtney Lee and Chase Budinger, a fight he would easily win.
 
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Posted by on July 14, 2011 in Uncategorized