Lawrence Frank was introduced as the new coach of the Pistons today and, because of the lockout, he couldn’t even mention the players he was hired to coach. Makes a lot of sense, right? No, no it doesn’t. Despite this ridiculous limitation, reading the recaps of the presser felt just like reading the recaps of any other coach’s introductory presser to me. Some quotes:
We’re gonna be a defense first team, a rebounding team, an attack offensive team. It’s hard to play good defense, it’s a collective effort mindset and trust, it’s about having a system and believing in it.
First and foremost, culture always starts with a work ethic. Investment vs. entitlement. You get yourself into a lot of problems if people feel entitled. The head coach has to enforce accountability. Every player wants the coach to challenge them but also connect with them.
I am very optimistic about this hire, for reasons articulated perfectly by Noam Schiller and Kelly Dwyer a couple of weeks ago. But to me, these quotes are essentially meaningless. Pretty much every coach comes in and says they want to change the culture and focus on defense. When John Kuester was hired, I was optimistic, too. And a few months later, in training camp, Dan Feldman cleverly pointed out that we should be careful about getting too excited about any new coaching hire. That piece is a fun one to re-read now.
Hiring Frank is an important first step toward fixing this Pistons team. He should turn out to be great for their young players. In order for Detroit to return to relevance, though, Joe Dumars is going to have to make some much more difficult moves that will revamp their strangely-assembled roster that didn’t give its last two coaches a chance to succeed.