In December 2013, Brooklyn Nets Assistant Coach Lawrence Frank was "reassigned" by first year Head Coach Jason Kidd, demoted from coaching on the bench to filing daily "team evaluation" reports from a remote location. The following story imagines what might be in those reports. These are works of fiction and in no way represent the personal or emotional state of the real Lawrence Frank, although, if you were him, you'd be a little pissed off and existential too, right?
Date: January 16, 2014
To: Billy King, General Manager, Brooklyn Nets
From: Lawrence Frank, Team Evaluator, Brooklyn Nets
Subject: Golden State Warriors
Below is my report on the Golden State Warriors.
The good news is I figured out how to watch film. The IT kid had written it all out and I just didn’t really bother to check the folder he left for me. It’s all in there. To be clear, that kid is doing a good job.
I remember when I had that job, or not that job exactly but, you know, that kind of job. You’re just hoping somebody notices you, hoping you don’t screw anything up or give anybody a reason to have any ideas about you other than somewhat pleasant. Other than potential. Other than this kid could maybe work out somewhere down the line. I’m sitting here right now in my sweat pants with the remote in my hand and some kind of show where housewives from somewhere or other yell at each other and drink wine and that’s what I miss, Billy: potential.
Anyway, the good news is I figured out how to watch film and I watched a whole lot of Golden State. The bad news is I have no idea how you might stop the Warriors. Curry and Thompson are unbelievable and now that they have Iguodala they seem to have themselves convinced that they’re tough, too. When I think about us playing them, I have this image of those guards, Curry and Thompson, just hopping right over Paul and Deron and Joe like giant crickets, like those things from the Starship Troopers movie. Hop hop dunk.
I keep on putting on sweatpants in the morning and then I realize that sitting around the house in sweatpants is a very different thing than wearing them to coach professional basketball. I don’t think I ever saw my father in sweatpants. He wore khakis and button downs, short sleeved shirts and ties. All I have are sweatpants and suits. I went to buy a pair of jeans yesterday and you wouldn’t believe what they have now. Loose, skinny, boot cut, straight, flared, there are numbers and colors and ways they hang above or below your hips. There are these jeans that look like they’ve been put through a shredder. There are jeans that are all faded right on your thighs, or kind of wrinkled on purpose, jeans that have these elaborate things on the pockets that go halfway down your ass like those Jordache jeans I used to see on Dance Party USA.
I’m standing in Macys looking at these jeans and the girl comes up, says can I help you. I’m looking for jeans, I say. Just normal jeans like I used to wear back in high school. Jeans. She nods like I’m crazy, makes this face like I’m being an asshole, like nobody is going to get one over on her, and she just keeps on walking. This is her job, Billy. Why is she here in the store with a name tag on, why am I here at 11 in the morning, if she’s going to turn up her nose and walk on by and then go back to her phone?
I haven’t gone outside much other than picking up the kids and running the occasional errand for Susan, to be honest, but I’m starting to feel like I didn’t have to deal with people very much before, you know? The occasional waiter or bus driver, people wanting an autograph at the airport. But this kind of thing, these jeans, this girl with her phone and her nametag and her ass walking away toward the women’s and me just standing there looking at all these jeans and no idea even where to start?
Jesus, you should see these housewives, Billy. The things they say to each other. It’s worse than anything you could say to a player, worse than the stuff Knight used to say to me at Indiana, if you can believe that. I don’t know what’s happened out here in the world while we were doing what we were doing, but it’s different now.
So Golden State. They’re going to get their shots. They’re going to make their shots. I guess if I were you I’d try to do anything you can to slow them down, try to go small right along with them, give out some fouls and see if you can get them frustrated? Curry tends to handle the ball too much in the fourth quarter, do everything himself. He’s quick but he’s no playmaker. There might be something there you can use. I don’t know, Billy. That one is going to be tough.
Good luck against the Warriors, Billy. I’ll get another report out to you soon.