June 27, 2019

Lawrence Frank Grinds On

February 01, 2012

Lawrence Frank, head coach of the Detroit Pistons has seen better days. The first year has not started kindly for the guy who as an assistant coach under Doc Rivers of the Boston Celtics. Frank helped the Celtics give up the fewest points in the NBA. However, that hasn't been the case in the first 22 games this year, his first with the Pistons.

They came into Madison Square Garden having lost 18 of those games. It hasn't helped that his key player, Ben Gordon from Yonkers, has been out the last 5 games with a shoulder injury. In the 15 games he's played, Gordon averaged 33 minutes and 15 points. Will Bynum (strained right foot) and Charlie Villanueva (sore right ankle) have missed significant time as well. It's life in a league that had to start the year with a shortened training camp and an abbreviated pre-season schedule. Those facts have not been lost on Frank.

"It is what it is," Frank said after watching his team get romped by the Knicks 113-86 on a night where they allowed New York to shoot 60% from the floor and 50% from 3-point land. "There's no excuse. We have to do better with what we have."

For more than 7 years, Frank was the head coach of the New Jersey Nets taking over after then head coach Byron Scott was fired at the end of January during the 2004 season. He quickly made news by winning his first 13 games. No other coach in the four major professional sports began their career in such fashion. Six of those games came on the road, setting another record. When he was let go at the end of the 2009-10 season, Frank was the Nets all-time leader in coaching victories. Under his guidance, Frank's team made the playoffs 4 years in a row, including winning the Atlantic Division twice and advancing to the Conference Semi-Finals three times. Taking over a Detroit franchise that has seen better days may be Frank's most daunting task.

The Detroit Pistons championships years has been well documented. Led by Isiah Thomas and Joe Dumars they won back-to-back NBA Titles in 1989 and 1990 against the Lakers and Portland respectfully. Those teams were led by legendary head coach Chuck Daly and the Bad Boys moniker was established by their hardcore defensive players, Dennis Rodman, Rick Mahorn and Bill Laimbeer.

"When I was in New Jersey they (the Pistons) had to go through us in the eastern conference semi-finals. They were a hard-nosed, blue-collar defense first. Share the basketball, team first, grind it out team. Very tough-minded," said Frank.

It would take them 14 years (2004) to win their next championship, with a team that was built more on finesse and athleticism. Larry Brown was at the helm coaching Richard Hamilton, Chauncey Billups, Tashuan Prince and Ben Wallace. They defeated a heavily favored Lakers team that included Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O' Neal. Prince and Wallace are still with the Pistons and although they lost the following year to San Antonio, neither has been close to another final. Prince, who finished with 10 points on 5 of 10 shooting, believes the core is there to build another winner. Prince knows he and Wallace can guide the rest of the team in the right direction.

"At some point, we have to build a foundation to where we're going to get to that."

It would help if they could get Gordon, Bynum and Villanueva back and healthy, as soon as possible.

Kidd Leads Nets to Record-Setting January

Brooklyn Nets head coach Jason Kidd has been named the NBA's Eastern Conference Coach of the Month for January after leading the Nets to a 10-3 record, the league announced today.

This marks the first Coach of the Month honor for Kidd in his first season as a head coach. The Nets' 10-3 (.769) record in January marked the best winning percentage for the month of January in the franchise's 38 NBA seasons.

However, it was not too long ago, that some thought Kidd should be fired.

Let's take a walk back. At the start of the NBA season, many were critical of the Brooklyn Nets management for hiring Jason Kidd as an NBA head coach. After all, he had just retired as a player from the New York Knicks only a few weeks prior to the head coach announcement.
Kidd lacked experience said his detractors.

As the regular season got into full swing and the Brooklyn Nets went on a downward spiral losing game after game, the naysayers amplified the chatter for the firing of the rookie coach.

With the Nets on a losing streak and many calling for the proverbial hammer to come down, Kidd made a decisive turn in early December; he demoted his primary assistant, Lawrence Frank, by "reassigning" him to report-filing duties.

The Nets fortunes didn't turn around on a dime and the team continued to experience misfortunes in December.

Center Brook Lopez broke his foot in December. There was also the embarrassing 95-78 Christmas Day loss to the Chicago Bulls.

On December 31, The Nets left the court early during a blowout loss to the Spurs on December 31, forcing Kidd to take a timeout so that he could retrieve them from the locker room.

With a new year, often come new resolutions; and the Brooklyn Nets as a team must have decided to resolve to win in the new year.

The Nets strung together two five-game winning streaks under the first year head coach's guidance and held nine of their 13 opponents under 100 points, resulting in eight victories. Brooklyn also won four of five road games in January, including a buzzer-beating victory to begin the month at Oklahoma City January 2.

Kidd, who won NBA Player of the Month honors twice as a member of the Nets (November 2001 and December 2002) and once as a member of the Phoenix Suns (April 1999) becomes the fourth person in NBA history to win both coach and player of the month honors, joining Larry Bird, Larry Drew, and Jeff Hornacek. Kidd also becomes the second person to win both honors with the same franchise, joining Hornacek, who captured both honors with the Suns, including Coach of the Month in December 2013.

Kidd becomes the fourth head coach in franchise history to earn Coach of the Month honors, joining Avery Johnson (November 2012), four-time winner Lawrence Frank (February 2004, April 2005, March 2006 and April 2007) and two-time winner Byron Scott (December 2002 and December 2003).

Speaking of Avery Johnson, even though he won Eastern Conference Coach of the Month in November 2012, Nets management lost patience with the team's struggles and fired Johnson the following month in December 2012.

General Manager Billy King Reassigned

The Brooklyn Nets today reassigned General Manager Billy King within the organization and have parted ways with Head Coach Lionel Hollins.

For the remainder of this season, Assistant Coach Tony Brown will serve as interim head coach. The GM position will remain open until a replacement is named.

Surprised? Not really. Anyone who has been paying close attention to the Brooklyn Nets knew the hammer was going to fall. In fact, many wondered what took so long. Hollins is the Nets fourth and longest serving head coach since the team came to Brooklyn in 2012.

During the 2012-13 inaugural season at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, the Nets fired Avery Johnson on December 27, 2012, 28 games into the season and Johnson had just won the NBA’s Eastern Conference Coach of the Month for November just weeks prior.

P.J. Carlesimo took over on an interim basis and the Nets made it into the NBA playoffs, but lost Game 7 in Round 1 on May 4, 2013, to the Chicago Bulls 99-93. On Sunday, May 5, 2013, the Nets fired Carlesimo who had a 35-19 regular season record with the Nets.

On June 12, 2013, Nets General manager announced that newly retired New York Knicks player Jason Kidd would be the new head coach for the Brooklyn Nets. Now, to be fair, Kidd was an all-star, NBA champion, an Olympic Gold medalist and known to be a coach on the floor, but that didn’t stop the haters from complaining about Kidd’s selection. Kidd’s tenure with the Nets was no walk in the park.

After a loss to the Chicago Bulls on Christmas Day, Kidd’s record with the Nets dropped to a disappointing 9-19. At the time, Kidd was sharing coaching duties with Lawrence Frank, and at the start of 2014, Kidd took full control of the coaching duties creating an acrimonious relationship with Frank. On February 3, 2014, Kidd was named the Eastern Conference Coach of the Month for January. On April 1, 2014, he was named Eastern Conference Coach of the Month a second time for the month of March. Kidd also took the Nets to the second round of the NBA Eastern Conference playoffs.

On July 1, 2014, the Milwaukee Bucks secured Kidd's coaching rights from the Brooklyn Nets in exchange for two second-round draft picks in 2015 and 2019. Unlike the two previous coaches, Kidd wasn’t fired; he left for the Milwaukee Bucks because the Nets would not give him more managerial control.

On July 2, 2014, in walks veteran NBA coach Lionel Hollins. The Brooklyn Nets announced a four-year deal with Hollins and with the Nets announcement of his departure today, Hollins is the longest serving Brooklyn Nets coach thus far.

“After careful consideration, I’ve concluded that it’s time for a fresh start and a new vision for the direction of the team,” said Nets Owner Mikhail Prokhorov. “By making this decision now, it enables our organization to use the rest of the season to diligently evaluate candidates with proven track records. It’s clear from our current state of affairs that we need new leadership. With the right basketball management and coach in place, we are going to create a winning culture and identity and give Brooklyn a team that it can be proud of and enjoy watching. We have learned a great deal during the past six years and our experiences will guide us for the future. Following the consolidation of team ownership last month, I can assure you that I’m more determined and committed than ever to build a winner.”

Hopefully, going forward Prokhorov will be more pragmatic with his future moves because his previous strategy of “win at all cost” has not proven to be a winning formula.

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