Wednesday, January 21, 2009

You've got to be realistic about what you have and where you're going

Sometimes, a casual fan checks the NBA standings and sees a team with a 19-22 record, and assumes the coach isn't doing a good job.

In some cases that may be the case.

But, as this story in the NY Times describes, it's certainly not the case in NJ where Nets coach Lawrence Frank, whose team is 19-22 in this his fifth season as head coach, has "done a hell of a job," in Doc Rivers' words.

According to Coach Rivers, "this year may be his best coaching job. What they’ve done in changing their team and with the youth they brought in..."

Nets team president Rod Thorn maintains his objectivity about where his team is, saying "You’ve got to be realistic about what you have and where you’re going."

Frank, who "is considered one of the hardest-working coaches in the applauded for his preparedness. Most days, he is among the first to the practice facility and the last one out. He often knows the opposition’s plays as well as he does his own."

According to Sixers GM Ed Stefanski, Coach Frank's players recognize their coach's hard work and how it pays off in games.

“The players see it,” Stefanski said. “That is crucial. They know that they’re going to be in the right spot at the right time. When the other team runs a play, he knows exactly what the play call is.”

Coach Frank, who runs "conditioning drills with his players" and occasionally presents them with motivational books, is praised for making time for individual film sessions and "bringing his energy and motor every day."

Former WAS coach Eddie Jordan, who worked as an assistant along with Coach Frank on Byron Scott's staff in NJ, contends that coaches have to be able to adjust to the situation, something Coach Frank's done well in his five years as a head coach.

You’ve got to have adaptability. With injuries, an 82-game schedule and personalities that vary from time to time, you’ve got to be able to adjust as you go through the journey. Everyone says, We need a change because we need a different voice. Lawrence has different voices within himself.”