The Nets are 0-16 and I'm still in shock about this. Frank has gotten more out of the Nets the last few years than anyone thought possible. Under his watch the Nets have exceeded expectations every season, making the playoffs, advancing to the second round, even winning 34 games last season, when they were supposed to win 24.
Every season management has jettisoned someone from Frank's core. Jason Kidd was traded for Devin Harris, and Harris became an all-star under Frank. Richard Jefferson was salary dumped for Yi Jianlian. Vince Carter was salary dumped for Courtney Lee. Imagine being in Frank's position, driving a nice car and then having someone taking a wheel off every season.
Of course, they haven't "exceeded" expectations this year, but that is hardly Frank's fault. The team has been decimated by injuries, and they were already projected to be the worst team in the east this season. They are all of three games behind the Knicks, and the team wasn't supposed to be much better than that.
Starters Devin Harris, Courtney Lee, Chris-Douglas Roberts, and Yi Jianlian have missed a combined 32 games of a possible 64. Lead reserves Keyon Dooling, Jarvis Hayes, and Tony Battie have been out with injuries. Trenton Hassell and Josh Boone have combined to start 20 games. The Nets have gotten 19 games out of the players they traded Kidd, Carter, and Jefferson for. How many games do you think they'd have won if all three of those players had gotten hurt?
And yet, the Nets were still competing. They had the 10th best DRTG (pts allowed per 100 possessions) in the league. They were the worst offensive team, but that was sure to improve once the team got healthy. That's what happens when a team is forced to start Trenton Hassell and Josh Boone. You can't squeeze blood from a stone.
Perhaps the Nets felt mercy on Frank and didn't want his legacy marred by setting the NBA's futility mark of 0-18 (they will surely tie the 0-17 mark against the Lakers tonight). However without Frank the Nets are more likely to to set the NBA's all-time futility mark of 9-73.
Going forward, it's possible the Nets want to pursue a bigger name coach to attract 2010 free agent talent. They certainly aren't going to attract LeBron anymore with all those losses. Ironically enough, Frank joins Byron Scott on the unemployment line. Scott was fired by the Nets for similar reasons as Frank, so it is possible that the Nets have "the next Lawrence Frank" lined up to replace Lawrence Frank. Frank should be able to land another coaching gig with relative ease, as Scott did. I would certainly take him over Mike D'Antoni in New York.