Lawrence Frank Interview
The 2005-06 NBA season starts soon. Here's what New Jersey Nets head coach Lawrence Frank said about his team and the upcoming season on a recent conference call:
Q: Everyone talks about your teams offensive numbers skyrocketing at the end of the season last year, but no one talks about your defensive numbers go dramatically better. What was the reason for that?
Lawrence Frank: I think we understand that in order for us to win, like any team, itís no secret, it all starts on the defensive end. I think our guys just did a great job of understanding the emphasis of trying to protect our paint as much as possible. For a team that didnít have any shot blocking, we finished up second in the league in fewest points allowed in the paint. There is a consistent effort of executing what we need to do and theyíre intent was really good.
Q: With Richard Jefferson injured most of the time, I donít think of your team as having great on ball defenders and you donít have any shot blockers, so what is the key defensively of how you get that done?
Frank: Itís everyone being on the same page. I think with what we do, itís all based on expectations in regards to our schemes. The only way for them to work is having five guys on the same page and if one guys is not on the string then you are going to left looking probably at an easy basket. So itís just a commitment of everyone being on the same page and giving maximum effort and I think from a coaching standpoint, you try to be in a position where youíre asking guys to do things they can do every single time. The things they only do once or twice wonít be a focal point of what we are trying to get done.
Q: It seems to me, with some of the offseason moves, that you have become a deeper team. Can you talk about that and also the acquisition of Marc Jackson?
Frank: I think on paper and what weíve seen so far is that we have really good depth in the sense that we have a bunch of quality NBA players. In the past, not that we havenít had depth, in the years that we went to the Finals we had a really good eight, nine guys and I think here across the board we have really good players. As a coach it gives you options in terms of playing a couple of different ways, some different combinations, whether you want to play small or big. If a certain guy gets injured, god forbid, you just have a little more of an arsenal and Marc has been great. Heís quickly earned the love of his teammates. As you know if youíve been around him, heís just a phenomenal communicator, heís extremely active, heís very passionate about practice, has a great love for the game and it rubs offs on his teammates. Marcís going to play a real big role here and weíll continue to take time to evaluate over the course of this preseason to see exactly where, but heís put himself in a position where heís going to play a prominent role.
Q: How excited are you about having Richard Jefferson and Vince Carter on the floor at the same time for the whole year?
Frank: I think itís great. Both of those guys are extremely talented wing players who are both extremely unselfish. They make their teammates better and thatís what the special ones do. Itís not just about doing for yourself, but what you can do for others and thatís what makes those guys so, so special and so weíre very fortunate to have them both.
Q: As few weeks ago Richard Jefferson said that you guys can win a championship and a lot of it was because of your depth. Do you think itís championship depth?
Frank: Well I think that is what weíre all in it for and competing for. I think thatís the big picture but we all understand that we have to keep the focal point on today and getting better today. But the big picture is that weíre in it to win a championship and we feel that if we do what we are supposed to do in regards to giving a maximum effort and everyone does their part, weíre going to put ourselves in a position to compete at the highest level.
Q: Can you talk about Kenyon Martin? Did you notice Kenyon at less than 100 percent last year? And with how deep the power forwards are in the west, can Kenyon be an All-Star in this conference?
Frank: I think Kenyon is an elite guy. I watched him throughout the year and talked to him and he was in a great deal of pain. The guy was taking cortisone shots just so he could get on the floor and play. Kenyon is an elite player, heís great and his gifts in that, and I know that they value him in Denver, is that some of his greatest strengths can not be quantified in numbers. The intangibles that he brings to the team, the toughness, the intimidation, the tenacity, the work ethic, every single day, those are part of his talents. I think Kenyon can be an elite player. When he was out east he obviously was a huge, huge pivotal guy and focal point for us in getting to Finals. So heís a special player and I think if heís able to maintain his health everyone will see that.
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