Detroit Pistons: One Less Job in Detroit as Team Goes Down to 2 Coaching Choices

Jay WierengaCorrespondent IJuly 14, 2011

ORLANDO, FL - MAY 04:  Head coach Mike Woodson of the Atlanta Hawks protests to an official while taking on the Orlando Magic in Game One of the Eastern Conference Semifinals during the 2010 NBA Playoffs at Amway Arena on May 4, 2010 in Orlando, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images)
Doug Benc/Getty Images

Our long, regional nightmare is over. Okay, maybe not yet, and maybe it wasn't such a huge nightmare. But apparently, it is nearing its conclusion.

The Detroit Free Press is reporting tonight that the Pistons have zeroed in on two choices to coach their team whenever the lockout ends-Lawrence Frank and Mike Woodson.

If this indeed is the case, it means that team president Joe Dumars has held to the notion that this new coach would have more experience than the previous two.

This also means that fan favorite Bill Laimbeer did not make the final cut, a huge blow to many that loved the former Piston's style as a player, and hoped for a return to his type of accountability.

At first glance, this may seem somewhat disappointing to fans. These are not high profile guys. Each has had marginal success in the NBA, yet neither has come close to winning it all.

They also are about as different as they could be from nearly every standpoint including appearance and past experience.

So which of the two would be the better fit? Let's take a look at each one.

Lawrence Frank is 33 years old and a graduate of Indiana University. He never played competitive ball at any level including high school.

In college, Frank worked for four years as a team manager under Bobby Knight.

He then moved on to Marquette as an assistant coach and then went with coach Kevin O'Neill to Tennessee for a few years before landing in Vancouver as an assistant under Brian Hill.

He used that gig to land with the New Jersey Nets, and when Byron Scott was fired, he became interim head coach before taking over the job permanently the next year (2005).

His first stint as interim was his best year in New Jersey was his best, posting a 25-15 record during the last 40 games. The Nets made the playoffs and got to the second round where they lost to, ahem, the Pistons in seven games.

Frank coaching five more full seasons, finishing with a winning record twice before being fired when his team started out 2010 0-16.

Frank is a very smart, studious man that is known for his ability to educate his players. He is slight of build and short, and looks 10 years younger than he is.

It could be argued that he owes a lot of his success in New Jersey to a veteran squad led by Jason Kidd who was essentially a coach on the floor, a situation he will not have here in Detroit.

The team in the later years was without that type of leadership on the court, and was composed mainly of young players and journeymen. It truly was a bad team.

His overall record is 225-241.

Woodson, on the other hand, was a very good college player. He, like Frank, graduated from Indiana University. But while Frank was Bobby Knight's student manager, Woodson was his star player.

Woodson went on to average nearly 20 points and 6 boards per game for his career as a Hoosier.

He was drafted in the first round by the New York Knicks and spent 11 seasons in the pros, averaging 14 points per game for his career.

After retiring, he caught on as an assistant coach in Milwaukee, then Cleveland, before joining up with Larry Brown in Philadelphia and then Detroit.

Woodson took the success from helping to win a title in Detroit into a head coaching gig in Atlanta. He coached six full seasons in Atlanta, leading a very young team through ups and downs, improving in wins in each season.

He was fired, however, when his team failed to win in the playoffs. In fact, he has never won a playoff series as head coach.

Woodson is a physically imposing man that is known for stressing defense while preaching patience.

So who makes the most sense? Let's look at what we need from a coach. Someone that is stern, but patient. Someone that can teach while demanding accountability. Someone that can lead a young team and help them improve from year to year.

In short, I think this is a slam dunk decision. It should without a doubt be Woodson.

Sure, it is easy to draw on the fact that he has experience in Detroit. But that really was only one year.

What is more important is that he was a protege of a proven coach in Larry Brown. And while former coach John Kuester could claim the same thing, Woodson actually took what he learned and translated it to the next seat over.

There is a huge difference between doing it in theory, and actually doing it. Woodson has done it. Kuester did not.

And while I don't think Frank would be a horrible decision, I don't think he has proven that he can lead a young team and help them improve. Woodson has, end of story.

Of course, I personally wanted Laimbeer, but I can understand the logic of this choice. Dumars needs experience, and Laimbeer doesn't have it yet.

Woodson is the right pick here.