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Friday, June 21, 2024
The Eagle

Let's be Frank

Ahhh, sports fans - don't look now, but the best coach in professional sports is ... Lawrence Frank.

Nope, there's not Jackson or Holmgren or Hitchcock or Torre in Frank. I mean, they're not undefeated, are they?

Frank is 12-0 (as of this writing) as the New Jersey Nets head coach ,leading his Nets down the stretch of the NBA season and into the playoffs. He attempts to lead them to their third straight NBA Finals appearance.

Now, if he doesn't lose for the rest of the season, he'll get some consideration for Coach of the Year, but let's face it, everyone loses. So the hardware will go to Phil Jackson of the Los Angeles Lakers, Adelman of the Sacramento Kings or Milwaukee's Terry Porter. But can you really make the argument that any one person has done more for his team this year than Frank?

The Nets, floundering around .500 before Frank took over for the axed Byron Scott, have run off an astounding dozen wins and are once again the best team in a weak Eastern Conference.

Miraculously, Jason Kidd has become the best point guard in the game again under the tutelage of a coach he actually likes (I know, it's absurd to think that superstars don't always give their full effort, but it happens).

Kenyon Martin finally looks as if he deserves a max contract, and Richard Jefferson is a 25-points-per-game scorer. And Frank's getting valuable contributions from guys like Hubert Davis, the guy who had some cameos at three-point contests during the '90s but never did much else. If the Nets go on to win the East and contend for the NBA Championship, how can Frank not win Coach of the Year? Who else took over a sinking ship midseason and gave it wings?

I'll tell you someone who didn't. The "other" Nets assistant who was thought to be the genius of the staff, so much so that he got a head coaching job before Frank.

His name: Eddie Jordan, the coach of the hometown Washington Wizards. Let's compare stats for a second. Frank is 12-0 and Jordan is 16-38. Jordan has only four more wins than Frank, and 38 more losses!

The difference is astronomical. In defense of the Wizards, they have been injured and anyone would have hired Jordan over Frank, numbers don't lie.

Of the six Eastern Conference teams that have changed coaches this season, four have promoted assistants and four sit higher in the standings than the Wiz.

This may be coincidence, of course, but there's no denying that there's a new breed of coach in the league today. The new NBA coach is a young, talented assistant who breathes life into a flailing franchise. Right now, Stan Van Gundy is leading the Miami Heat into the playoff hunt and Mike D'Antoni and Nate McMillan are leading the Phoenix Suns and Seattle SuperSonics, respectively, back to the promised land.

Oh, and then there's that Frank guy dominating the New Jersey swamplands. As the Nets prepare to move to Brooklyn, N.Y. in 2006, they have a superstar who's almost as old as his coach. Their two rising stars are young and their coach is an up-and-coming future Hall of Famer.

Well, maybe not yet, but he is better than the Jordan that's prowling around the D.C. area. This new breed of coach is of course bad news for young college coaches such as AU Men's Basketball head coach Jeff Jones and Lehigh's Billy Taylor, who may be looking to move to the association. They may have to work their way up through the college ranks and become assistants before they are considered for head-coaching jobs. NBA fans should take notice and realize that an incredible young coach is running around the swamp. I mean, let's be Frank ... this guy's one hell of a coach.

As the semester comes to an end and one of the founding members leaves American University, Section 202 has decided to take a trip down memory lane. For our fans, old and new, who are wondering how Section 202 came to be, this episode is a must. Listen along as hosts Connor Sturniolo and Liah Argiropoulos reminisce about the beginning of Section 202 and how it got to where it is now.

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