Gores Echoes Frank

Pistons owner hammers the theme of everyday commitment

The message from Tom Gores sounded familiar to Pistons players, striking upon the same themes of everyday commitment to winning that Lawrence Frank has preached since day one.
Dan Lippitt (NBAE/Getty)
If the message Tom Gores delivered to the Pistons the day after losing the season opener sounded familiar, it probably wasn’t accidental. The theme was the same one Lawrence Frank has been hammering since training camp opened – and the one Joe Dumars lived as a player and imposed on the organization when he took over as Pistons president 11 years ago.

That message: success, measured in baseball by winning, is an everyday commitment.

“The same values – the work and the dedication – he had to get where he’s at today,” Ben Gordon said. “He wants us to take our jobs seriously every day. He told us great things can happen. He said he’s a kid from Flint that worked hard and was consistent with his work every day and that’s the same thing he wants us to do. He made it clear he’s here to support us and we’re all in this together. We’ve just got to take heed to what he said today and use that same mentality on the court.”

Gores was in Indianapolis for Monday’s season-opening loss to the Pacers and observed Tuesday’s practice at Dumars’ side. When it ended, Frank invited him to address the team.

“He had some very nice words for us,” Greg Monroe said. “He just reiterated what Lawrence has been talking to us about – come in and try to change the culture here. It’s about getting fans back and just making this a winning organization again.”

Players have seen dramatic evidence of Gores’ impact with the improvements made to both the practice facility and their home base at The Palace, their locker room that was greatly expanded and made both more comfortable and tech-friendly in a $3 million overhaul.

Now they’re anxious to see what else Gores’ ownership will mean on game nights and elsewhere throughout The Palace.

“It’s going to be great to get back out there and play in front of the fans,” in tonight’s home opener against Cleveland, Gordon said. “We really want to play good basketball this year. The last two years have been really tough, the last three years, for Pistons fans. So we want to work every day to give them something to be excited about.

“It’s going to be really exciting. I think it’s probably going to be a little bit different than what we’re used to. Mr. Gores told us that, so we’re going to go out there, try to play and get a W.”

“We’re trying to put on a good show for the fans,” Monroe said. “Just trying to get the energy back in that arena.”

Frank has felt the thunder of The Palace crowd during his days as coach in New Jersey, which got run off the court in Game 7 of the 2004 second-round playoffs, and knows what a huge home-court advantage the Pistons can make possible.

“As I’ve said from day one, it’s on us to earn it. We have to earn back the privilege of our fans to bring it,” he said. “I know what it feels like as a visiting coach to come into this arena, this environment, where it’s a definite advantage to the home team. I think if we compete and play hard and play together, the fans here are unlike any other and that’s been proven. But it’s on us to earn them back.”