The honeymoon is over and now coach Lawrence Frank must demonstrate to team president Joe Dumars that he has the Detroit Pistons on the right path.
A 25-41 NBA record last season was acceptable because Frank himself was a rookie and trying to get the team back on the right track after two bumpy years under John Kuester.
It does appear that Frank has a better handle on his team than did his predecessor who faced several mutinies. But that assumes things are going well for the team. Frank has to demonstrate he’s got the franchise on track to be a playoff contender.
It’s not necessary for the Pistons to make the playoffs for Frank to keep his job as long as they make a strong bid for the postseason. Anything similar to last season will probably cost Frank his job.
Joe Dumars has low tolerance for coaches whom he doesn’t feel has the Pistons going in the right direction, regardless of their record. That’s been the case of several coaches.
Frank may be safe for awhile. Based on a 4-4 preseason and the development of young players like Brandon Knight and Andre Drummond, a record between 38-44 or 42-40 is likely but may not be good enough to get them to the playoffs.
Anything less than that and Dumars is likely to pull the plug.
One plus for Frank is he seems to have a much better rapport and respect from his players than Kuester. But that can change if the Pistons don’t get off to a good start and sustain it for the rest of the regular season.