Fired Up for Frank

Pistons players respond with enthusiasm to Frank’s steady hand

Practicing under Lawrence Frank has gotten the Pistons players even more eager to start the season.
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If even Pistons players wondered what Lawrence Frank could possibly have found to fill 16-hour days over the weeks that turned into months between his hiring and the opening of training camp, now they know. Now they know he was dissecting each of their 82 game tapes from a year ago, breaking down the strengths and weaknesses of every player’s arsenal and figuring out the possibilities that would put each individual in the best possible position for success to better the odds of the ultimate payoff: team success.

“For me, coach Frank, he gets the best out of everybody,” Jonas Jerebko said Wednesday at Pistons media day. “He’s very vocal. He tells you how it is. He tells you right to your face, in front of everybody. You’re going to hear it if you do wrong. And I love it.”

Up and down the line, the refrain was much the same.

“He brings a lot of energy,” Ben Wallace said. “Everybody wants to go out and play hard for a guy where they know if they give their all on the defensive end, they’re going to get rewarded on the offensive end.”

Will Bynum said earlier in camp he thinks Frank will be especially good for the perimeter players for his insistence that they push tempo offensively and harass the opposition on defense. On Wednesday, he said his ability to teach while remaining upbeat sells players.

“Coach Frank holds everybody accountable,” he said. “He’s out there, he’s teaching, he’s telling you what you’re doing wrong out there on the court, and not only is he telling you what you’re doing wrong, he’s actually showing you what to do right. It’s a big difference. He’s allowing you a chance to improve instead of just criticizing you and never growing from that point on. I love coach Frank.”

Said Gordon, “I met with coach Frank the first day we were allowed to talk and he just struck me as someone who really knows the game, who really has a great feel for how to put guys in position to succeed. I don’t get that feeling of him not being in tune with what his guys do best. I don’t think that will be a problem any more. I’m looking forward to it. I think you’ll start to see a lot of guys who haven’t been playing as well, or up to their potential, I think you’ll see them get to playing the way they can. Guys like Charlie Villanueva, myself, guys like Will Bynum. The roles we’ll have this year will be a lot more suited to our style of play.”

“I like his energy, I like the time he takes to educate us,” Villanueva said. “He’s a respectful guy, commands attention, just his whole demeanor. It’s really good for this team.”

Tayshaun Prince smiles as broadly as Wallace when he talks about Frank’s emphasis on defense early in camp.

“We all know how our defense was the last few years as far as everybody not being on the same page,” he said. “We’re a young team. Everybody knows that when we were a veteran team, we were pretty much a defensive team. We’re going to have to rely on each other and that’s one thing we’ve really been focusing on throughout training camp so far.”

Even though the Pistons have only been in camp for six days, Austin Daye thinks they’re going to head into the regular season in better position than a year ago.

“I felt last year, training camp wasn’t very good,” he said. “We had a focus, but as soon as the games started, you could see everyone was reverting back to old habits and this year, with L Frank, it’s not going to go down like that.”

Frank would be the first to point out that it’s only training camp, nobody has any stats yet, nobody has any losses on their record. But the Pistons, motivated by the chance to redeem themselves for a year that left them all frustrated and energized by the passion and clarity of their new coach’s thoughts, are going to be ready to start a new season, no matter how rushed the process of getting there proves to be.