Imagine being in the shoes of New Jersey Nets head coach Lawrence Frank before the start of this NBA season.
Think about sitting in your office, looking at the preseason predictions, and seeing that your team is picked to finish last in your conference by many of the publications around.
Pondering for a second that many think that your team will be taken apart piece by piece by the trading deadline, leaving your team with a bunch of players that have expiring contracts at the end of the season.
Reflecting on how the next season will be a throw away as well next year, and that the team is rolling the dice of playing the closest thing to a lottery that the NBA will ever see, which is trying to get LeBron James as a free agent at the end of that next season.
Starting to get nervous that every other team in the NBA is going to throw a bid out there for him, along with quite possibly teams overseas as well, and that your best chance to get one of the best players in the NBA currently (and quite possibly THE best) is probably because of his friendship with Jay-Z, one of your team's owners.
Finally, come to the realization that if your team actually does land James somehow, that you will probably not be his coach anyway. Get it entrenched in your head that you will probably be fired long before any team signs him, and that you will have to be searching for a job instead.
Think then that it is your responsibility to make your team win now as well, with resources that are not exactly the best around.
This does not sound like a great situation, does it?
Of course it does not, but this was the position that Lawrence Frank was in before the start of this NBA season.
An underdog in every sense of the word, he has faced adversity before, rising through many ranks to get to his current position.
Not forgetting this for a single second, early on, he must have told himself that he is going to make this team a winner if it killed him.
This might be the only way to explain the start of the New Jersey Nets so far this season.
At 9-8 overall, they are throwing all common logic out of the table up to this point. They have an aging veteran who is having one of his best seasons yet (one Vince Carter).
They have a young point guard who is playing one of the best overall games in the NBA currently, this being Devin Harris.
After these two, they have a bunch of young guns who are playing together, and who are more importantly growing together as a unit as well.
The result so far has been clean basketball from the Nets.
They have been contending, and despite some awful games every now and then, this team looks like they have what it takes to be a contender for the playoffs at the end of the season.
These players have Frank to thank for all of these great developments. Accepting none other than the best from each and every one of his players, Frank has the Nets playing as if they have nothing to lose.
As a result, they are playing basketball without worrying about what will happen should they make mistakes.
Frank has this team ready to go to war for him. He has instilled a confidence in this team that, quite simply, should not be there.
Without a doubt, this has been one of the best coaching jobs performed in the NBA up to this point this season.
Frank is keeping the Nets together, and as long as he keeps on pushing the right buttons, he may very well live to be around the Nets for a very long time yet.
He has the faith of the entire organization up to this point, and as a result, the Nets are actually a force so far, instead of being a pushover.
He is a leader in every sense of the word, and by doing everything incredibly well up to this point, Frank is keeping the Nets together so far this season.
As a result, the Nets continue to play good basketball. As long as they make the playoffs, anything can happen, and if Frank keeps up the hard work, who knows what will happen should they make it to the playoffs this season.
This much is for certain, though—the players are performing to levels they never thought that they could achieve because of Frank. As a result, he has stitched together this team very tightly up to this point.
Even better for the Nets, it will take a lot to make the work of Frank mean nothing in the end.