The New Jersey Nets are Lawrence Frank’s team. Or at least they were. But Lawrence Frank is a basketball coach, and coaches coach teams. They are defined by what they do, and what they do is coach. So is he still a coach if he doesn’t have a team? Does the coach, the person, have purpose?
Well, if you’re Lawrence Frank, you do. Frank is thinking — hoping — that his current teamlessness is only temporary. From Dave D’Alessandro of the Star-Ledger:
After being fired on Nov. 28, he used all of December to reacquaint himself with his wife and daughters. Then he spent all of January and February on the road – essentially canvassing the quadrangle between Kansas, Dallas, Orlando and New England – visiting roughly a dozen college and NBA teams coached by men he considers close friends.
Nothing has changed in that regard: While others watch the game and players, Frank still focuses on the coaches — even those on a high school level – because that’s what lifers do.
“The thing I like most is watching how they run a practice,” Frank said. “Those are always the most relevant times to me. So I watch them and track their thoughts, how they approach the preparation, how they make adjustments, listen to their postgame evaluation, and how they deal with their teams the next day. That’s why I liked to have extended days, and all these guys gave me unbelievable access.
“But when you go around a team, you not only pick brains of coaches, but all different people – personnel people, training staff, everybody. That way, you’re able to gauge the core values of a staff and an organization. I find that very rewarding.”
This is as close as Frank can get to business as usual without minds to mold and practices to run. Coaching is his purpose, regardless of whether or not he has a team of his own. Frank deserves another shot at coaching an NBA team because regardless of the blatant cronyism that goes on throughout most of the league, there are still teams out there that value good work. Frank offers that, even if it didn’t quite manifest itself in the Nets’ horrid start this season.
It may come next season, or it may not. But Frank’s re-entry into the ring of NBA head coaches is only a matter of time.