There is once again momentum to the idea that Doc Rivers and Kevin Garnett (then later likely Paul Pierce) are headed to the Clippers. It may or may not happen, but a smart GM like Danny Ainge has to start planning for any eventuality.
So, if Doc Rivers is gone from the bench in Boston, who is in?
A. Sherrod Blakely of CSNNE.com threw out the first names.
Those names are not likely to thrill Celtics fans.
They are also very different kinds of coaches and you have to wonder if either are really the kind of skill development guys who can help a rebuilding team (which the Celtics would be if they start trading the big three and Doc out).
Del Negro is not known as an Xs and Os guy — he relies heavily on pick-and-roll plays, some other standard NBA sets and a variety of defensive looks — and is more about motivation. He runs a system where he wants the leaders on the court to make the calls much of the time. With the Clippers last year, where Chris Paul was making the decisions, that led to 56 wins and a division title. But don’t think Del Negro was beloved in the locker room at all.
Franks is an old-school, grinding guy who loves the Xs and Os. He had seven seasons and saw some success with the Nets (on teams with Richard Jefferson, Kenyon Martin and Jason Kidd) then spent the last two seasons in Detroit where there were questions about his player development skills. Frank was an assistant with the Celtics.
Frank is also the guy the Nets are targeting to be the lead assistant to Kidd there. Obviously, he will hold them at arm’s length until he sees if he can land a seat in the big chair.
Something to watch, I think a lot of coaches would love to jump in to the prestigious Boston job, but it is a rebuilding gig.
I officially got off the “Lawrence Frank knows how to build a team” train earlier this season, when Andre Drummond was showing real promise but was being held back so Jason Maxiell could get more minutes. Despite what owner Tom Gores thought, this was not a playoff team, it was a team that needed to take its lumps and learn.
The Pistons are off the Lawrence Frank train as well, or maybe more accurately he was tossed from the Pistons’ train.
As had been expected after a 29-win season (and a 25-win before that), the Pistons fired Frank on Thursday, reports Marc Stein at ESPN.
A meeting Thursday with Pistons owner Tom Gores finally confirmed Frank’s ouster, after Gores offered very tepid public support of his coach when speaking to local reporters earlier this week. Frank was believed to be largely Gores’ choice to replace John Kuester in the summer of 2011, although NBA coaching sources maintain that Pistons president Joe Dumars preferred current Knicks coach Mike Woodson for the job.
The Pistons will confirm this later in the day. Wherever Frank is next season he will still get the $3.7 million the Pistons owe him in salary.
Frank looked like a guy trying to assert some control and save face when he told Gores recently that the team needed to pick up the option year on his contract or not bring him back. Everyone knew this day was coming.
The question is what direction the Pistons go now. For a young team a young coach coming up — Brian Shaw out of Indiana, for example — would be a good fit. But we’ll see what direction an owner who expects to make the playoffs next season chooses to go.
Nobody really expected the Detroit Pistons to be all that good this year — this is a rebuilding team trying to grow and see what they really have with players like Greg Monroe, Brandon Knight, Kyle Singler, Andre Drummond and more.
But they haven’t lived up to even those low expectations — they are bottom seven in the league in offensive and defensive efficiency, and after starting the season 0-8 their next two losses came to the lowly Orlando Magic (they gave up a 21-0 run to the Magic in the second game of that series).
Coach Lawrence Frank is playing around with his rotations trying to find something that works, but all that experimentation has players frustrated. Look at what Will Bynum told the Detroit Free Press.
“I’m having to adjust to everybody. I’m playing with so many different people. First I go from not playing with (Rodney) Stuckey to playing with Stuckey every day. I go from playing with Kyle all the time to never playing with Kyle. I’m playing with Tayshaun (Prince). Early on I was playing with Brandon (Knight) and I never played with him in two years since I’ve been here. It’s all over the place right now.”
Veteran Tayshaun Prince was a little more guarded and talked about the Magic’s 21-0 run, but you guess what he is saying.
“Energy ain’t the only thing,” Prince said. “That isn’t my decision, but we need to figure out some things to do when teams are making runs to get us a good opportunity at the rim or the foul line.”
Joe Dumars and the Detroit front office have to be asking themselves if Lawrence Frank is the guy who can help this team through rebuilding. Because the players seem to be asking that.