No 'outward signs of heat on Lawrence Frank'

Shaun Powell of USA Today-owned Sports on Earth has a list of NBA coaches who could be looking for new jobs in the offseason and, not surprisingly, Lawrence Frank is on his list:

Lawrence Frank, Pistons. He assumed a team in transition and the Pistons, two years later, are still stuck at the starting line with a pair of flat tires. The results haven’t been very encouraging and yet there are no outward signs of heat on Frank, either. Hey, the late Chuck Daly couldn’t coach this crew to respectability. In a sense, Frank has served as a sacrificial lamb during a rebuilding process, someone to keep the coaching seat warm while the Pistons stockpile talent and put themselves in position to win.

Does Joe Dumars have confidence in Frank being the guy to lead the club at the next level of development? Or does Dumars spend the money and go with a more proven coach? That’s really the only question. The Pistons are a lottery pick or two away, and that’s in Frank’s favor. As long as Frank’s relationship with Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond is solid — because those players represent the future — he should last at least another year.

At the beginning of the season, I thought Frank would definitely be back to at least start a third season as coach. That’s not an endorsement of the job he’s done, of course, which hasn’t been good. It’s more recognizing that when Frank was hired, Joe Dumars talked relentlessly about the ‘process, the process, the process is rock solid’ that the team went through to hire Frank as well as his belief that the team had to stop the revolving door of coaches. I still think those talking points will save Frank’s job (not for long, though, if the team starts slow again next season), but I have a lot more doubt about it now.

Powell is right, though. Despite some awful losses lately and another awful season in general, and despite Frank losing the faith of large segments of the fanbase (at least according to comments here and other places, talk radio, etc.), there haven’t really been signs that Frank is in serious trouble. There has not been public finger-pointing by players, there haven’t been rumors in local media and Dumars and Tom Gores have been largely silent for quite some time now (not giving the dreaded public ‘vote of confidence’ that struggling coaches usually get just before getting axed). None of that means Frank won’t be fired, of course, but he also doesn’t have the obvious dead man walking thing that John Kuester did near the end of his tenure.

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