Best in Class

Frank, Pistons players take note of Tom Gores’ commitment to success

Lawrence Frank and his players are taking note of Tom Gores' vision for the team.
Christian Petersen (NBAE/Getty Images)
When Tom Gores was asked at his introductory press conference six months ago if he was prepared to spend the money required to be the best, he didn’t blink: “It’s not about the money,” he said, “it’s about the value. We’re going to be hard, Joe (Dumars) and I. ‘If you’re on board and we’re paying, then we expect value and that means full value.’ We’re prepared to spend if we feel the value is there.”

It hasn’t taken long for Pistons players to take notice that money is being spent to accommodate putting them in the most advantageous positions to succeed.

There are the improvements to the practice facility, including the enormous wall signs enumerating Lawrence Frank’s building blocks for success. There is the staggering expansion of the locker room at The Palace, where the Pistons will have a sanctum that rivals any in the NBA. There are the breakfast and lunch spreads during training camp to save time and ensure nutritional needs are met.

“This is a commitment we’re making to our troops,” Frank said. “We have an owner who is extremely committed. We’re asking these guys to put a lot of time in, but we’re honoring their bodies. We feed them breakfast, feed them lunch. It’s so crucial and it makes such a difference. We want to do everything best in class.”

Austin Daye said the decision to fly into and out of Oakland-Pontiac instead of Detroit Metro is a move the team genuinely appreciates.

“I think (strength coach) Arnie (Kander) did the math last year – we had 88 extra hours of travel driving down (to Metro),” Daye said. “Little things. It just makes it a lot easier for players and gives us more energy for practice and he knows that.”

“Having food in the locker room, being able to eat breakfast – those are little perks that players appreciate. For me, to come in and not have to wake up and look for cereal and milk, I can just come in and eat breakfast in the morning. It puts a smile on all our faces to see those kinds of things that he’s pushing for for us. Then we can do more for him.”

“The locker room, flying out of Pontiac – our owner has made a great commitment to make some significant changes and, in return, it’s quid pro quo,” Frank said. “We’ll give you our best, you give us your best. That’s how it works. Not something for nothing. Tom has done a great job of giving us everything we need to be successful.”