The search is over and Joe Dumars has his man. A report by ESPN.com's Marc Stein was released Thursday evening that former New Jersey Nets head coach Lawrence Frank would be the next coach of the Detroit Pistons.
This hiring comes on the heels of a long and arduous search for just the right guy to replace John Kuester. Kuester only lasted two years in the Motor City and had a very rocky tenure. He replaced Michael Curry after one disastrous season.
The Pistons have burned through coaches since the rolling stone Larry Brown left in 2005. It remains to be seen if Frank is the guy to halt this coaching carousel.
Here are the reasons why I think he could be the guy, and yet may not be.
Throughout his career, Frank has been criticized for changing his offense to often. He implemented four in his seven years in New Jersey. His latest implementation, however, is the dribble-drive offense.
This would be an absolutely perfect fit in Detroit. The personnel is there for this offense to really click in the system.
The key to the dribble-drive offense is having multiple guards capable of penetrating and kicking, and bigs that can step away from the basket and shoot the rock, along with other capable three-point shooters. This is where the Pistons should excel.
Knight and Stuckey are both capable of getting into the lane and breaking down a defense, much like a Devin Harris. They will have options on the perimeter as the team has been built around finesse bigs who can shoot. This will also hide the lack of a consistent post presence.
There has been little doubt through Frank's career that he has the ability to get guys fired up. In New Jersey, he frequently had a squad that was willing to play hard for him. If he is going to succeed in Detroit, he is going to need to be able to motivate some of the more comfortable players.
He comes from the Bobby Knight mold as he was a manager for "The General" at Indiana University. He will need to use some of the old man's tactics to get Rip and company on the same wavelength this year.
His reputation precedes him as one of the hardest-working guys in the league. That should resonate in the city of Detroit and with this team.
Over the past few years the team has slowly become a bunch of prima donnas. Getting the team back into a grind-it-out, physical, hard-working state of mind could be just what the Pistons need.
Nets president Rod Thorn noted Frank's "passion for his craft," calling it "infectious." If the personality of their coach rubs off on this Detroit team, Frank may be a great fit.
While his hard-working attitude may be a hit with the players when they are winning, it has been known to turn players off when they are not. During the 2009-2010 season, Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports reported via a source that the New Jersey Nets began to tune him out as they reeled off 17 straight losses. Those losses culminated in his termination.
If Frank has even the slightest bit of a tendency to lose a locker room, he may not be the right guy in Detroit. It's speculated that Rip Hamilton has been known to take his coach down a peg or two, and other guys have been hostile in the past.
Frank is going to need to get his act together from the start if he is going to keep a hold of this team. If he doesn't, he will join Kuester and Curry as short-lived Pistons coaches.
Even though Frank has coached at this level for seven years, he is far from a coaching guru. Over his seven years in New Jersey, he accumulated a 225-241 record. This was with good talent as well.
When he took over the team in 2003, he set an NBA mark for most consecutive victories to start a career with 13. The success was short-lived, however, as he finished no better than .500 in each of his last four seasons as coach.
While .500 would be an improvement in Detroit right now, it clearly is not the end goal. If the Pistons are going to get back to where they so recently were, it's going to take rising well beyond mediocrity. It remains to be seen whether Frank is capable of taking them there.
Since the coach search began, I believe that Bill Laimbeer was the man that the Pistons needed to take over the job. He would instill a toughness that would show up on the defensive end of the floor and on the glass.
Defense and rebounding are two things that the Pistons need to be successful again. These are things that are in the identity of the Pistons that cannot be forgotten, and they have been for too long now.
When Frank was in New Jersey, his teams were not known for their defensive prowess. They were an uptempo team that loved to get out and run. Few teams like that have a commitment to defense, and even fewer dedicate themselves to wiping the glass.
If things are to get better, it has to start on defense. A return of the physical, grind-it-out defense would be an enormous step for a young team. We'll see where Frank's loyalties lie on this subject.
In Detroit, we expect championships. Let's be honest, we fired Flip Saunders because we were sick of losing in the Eastern Conference finals. We traded Chauncey Billups because he was deemed no longer capable of taking a team all the way.
Early flameouts in the playoffs are not acceptable here. Lawrence Frank, however, has a history of just that. In four playoff appearances, Frank took the Nets to the second round twice, but was beaten in that round all three times.
While the playoffs seem a long way in the distance now, someday they will be a reality again. When that day hits, the Pistons will need a coach that can navigate the stormy seas of the postseason. So far, Frank has not proven to be up to the challenge.
It is very early to be making any kind of judgement, but I feel pretty safe about this one. I simply don't like the hire. If Hamilton is not dealt, we can expect to see a repeat of the past three years. He has been too much for the previous coaches to handle, and Frank enters the situation with a history of not being able to keep his team together.
I like his offense, but if it's not working initially, is he going to change it? The Pistons don't need a coach that is changing the structure of his team to match his flavor-of-the-month offense.
There are pieces to build around, yet I don't see Frank as an above-average coach. It really seems like Dumars just settled with this safe pick. There is obviously something going on between the GM and Bill Laimbeer, as he was the clear choice for the job and has been passed over twice now.
The city of Detroit needs a team that reflects its personality: blue-collar, tough and ready for a resurgence. At this point, I don't believe that Lawrence Frank is the man to do this job, but I would love to be proven wrong.