The Case for Detroit Pistons Firing Lawrence Frank After This Season

Jay Wierenga@@JayWierengaCorrespondent IMarch 4, 2013

CHICAGO, IL - MARCH 30:  Head coach Lawrence Frank of the Detroit Pistons watches as his team takes on the Chicago Bulls at the United Center on March 30, 2012 in Chicago, Illinois. The Bulls defeated the Pistons 83-71. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

This is getting embarrassing.

On Sunday night, the Detroit Pistons suffered their worst loss since 2002, getting pummeled by the San Antonio Spurs 114-75.

To add insult to this horrible injury, the Spurs were without All-Star point guard Tony Parker.

OK, so the Spurs, owners of the league's best record, are probably supposed to win at home against the Pistons.

But it is how this team looks that is troubling. They look disinterested, lackadaisical and beaten.

And that is where the coach comes into play.

Since you can't fire 15 players, the Pistons might want to consider firing head coach Lawrence Frank after the season.


The case for firing Frank

When the Pistons hired Frank two years ago, I thought it was an underwhelming choice. There were plenty of other coaches out there who would have brought more to the table.

Frank had a nice run with the New Jersey Nets, but that was a veteran-heavy team that was loaded with talent. And while it started well, the team eventually quit on him and he lost his job.

Frank wasn't known for anything special. Though a student of coach Bob Knight in Indiana, he didn't have his demeanor. His Nets teams were strong offensively, but not dynamic. They played good defense but they weren't stoppers.

They usually put up a good fight, but there was something missing despite the talent.

We now know what that is; they had a coach that struggled to make adjustments.

Frank, like the Detroit Tigers skipper, Jim Leyland, has certain players that he trusts, and they get the minutes.

For Leyland, it was Brandon Inge and Ryan Raburn. For Frank, it is Jason Maxiell and Kyle Singler.

Maxiell is certainly a strong interior defender and a solid rebounder. And Singler is a smart player who moves well without the ball. But these guys aren't starters.

Yet Frank continued to run Maxiell out there for 30-plus minutes while he had a stud rookie sitting on his bench. Andre Drummond is the most dynamic rookie this franchise has had since Grant Hill, and once he proved his talent early on, he should have been given the starting job.

Of course I know the arguments for sitting Drummond. They range from not wanting to overwhelm the kid to forcing him to earn the job and keep his hunger.

That's all fine and good. But let's look at the facts. Maxiell is probably playing his last season in Detroit. He has no value for this team going forward. He also isn't the best option. Is he capable of 18 points and 18 rebounds in a game? Definitely not.

But let's get off of Maxiell since Drummond is hurt now anyways.

This is a team that has been stunningly stagnant on offense. They want to use their defense to create offense in the form of transition buckets, yet they don't seem to have a backup plan if that doesn't work.

Before Jose Calderon arrived via trade, the starting lineup's plan for offense was to hope for turnovers for easy hoops. When that didn't happen, they took turns playing one-on-one. There was little use of the inside-out game, double- and triple-screens were not happening and team movement was limited to Singler.

But the second unit started to bring this team out of its funk utilizing Will Bynum's quickness, Drummond's athleticism and Charlie Villanueva's range.

Now that Calderon is here and Drummond is hurt, their roles have flipped. Teams know that they just need to withstand that first rush, wait awhile and then pound the second unit.

By the second half, the Pistons have lost their will to fight.

We all expected a let down once Drummond got hurt, but should this be happening? Regular beatings by good and bad teams alike?

On the one hand, this team should have found a way to withstand this injury and found new ways to utilize players on the roster. On the other hand, if Drummond was this invaluable why was he playing less than 20 minutes a night?

Either way it falls on the coach.

And if this season wasn't about playing the best guys and instead was about developing young guys for the future, why has it taken this long to get the rookies any playing time?

Right now the Pistons have nothing to hang their hat on. They aren't a good defensive team, they aren't a good offensive team and they don't play with passion.

These are all signs that the voice in the locker room might need to be changed.


Tricky spot for Dumars

Make no mistake about it, team president Joe Dumars is very nervous.

He is running out of people to point at as the problem.

The change of ownership is over and now he has a new boss to impress. A boss that he hasn't won for. A boss that sees how few people are attending his games and has to hear the fans crying for Dumars' head.

If Dumars fires Frank, he will be acknowledging yet another poor coaching choice.

So chances are, he will hold onto Frank. These two are in this for better or worse.

Because something tells me that when Frank goes, so too will Dumars.


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