Originally written December 14, 2011 on Fox Sports Detroit:
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AUBURN HILLS, Mich. -- Lawrence Frank knows he has to change everything about the Detroit Pistons in a short period of time. Luckily for him, he's got plenty of people that are ready to help. At Wednesday's Media Day, the first player to face the media was also the first one to step up to the plate. "I watched all 82 games from the sidelines last season, and I learned a lot of not-to-dos," Jonas Jerebko said. "I'm going to be a more vocal leader this season. We need that." As the team's elder statesman, Ben Wallace knows he needs to be a leader, but he's already pleased to see younger players showing signs of leadership. "We need to start caring about each other and caring about the game of basketball again," he said. "I like that guys like Will Bynum and Ben Gordon are stepping up to lead." Gordon thinks that, along with his new role as a leader, he'll also be in a better position on the floor. "Coach L strikes me as someone who really knows the game, and really knows how to put players in a position to succeed," said Gordon, who struggled during his two years under John Kuester. "Last year was very chaotic, and that held us back from achieving what we were capable of doing. That confusion is not going to be an issue this season." While the players were falling all over themselves to praise Frank's energy and attention to detail, it was Kuester who took a beating. The players didn't mention him by name, but the comparisons were constant. "Coach is putting me in the right position to be successful," Charlie Villanueva said. "For the last two years, I've been out on the perimeter, shooting 3-pointers. I'm a lot more than that. I can put the ball on the floor and I can post people up, but I didn't get that chance." Even rookie Brandon Knight, who was playing for John Calipari last season, has been impressed by Frank. "Coach L comes with high energy every day, and he has very high expectations for himself and his team," he said. "That's the same as Coach Cal. They remind me a lot of each other." With Rodney Stuckey still unsigned, Frank not only has to implement his system in a shortened training camp, he has to do with a rookie point guard. "We don't have the time we would normally have, but we can't skip steps, because you can't cheat this game," said Frank, who is only 10 days away from the season opener. "Each day, we do more and more, but we also have to understand how to pace the team. Once the season starts, we're not going to have a lot of practice time, so we're going to have to learn a lot in ballroom walkthroughs and film sessions." Frank, though, thinks this is the perfect time to break Knight into the NBA. "Everyone here is new to me, so everyone is learning at the same pace," he said. "Whether you've been in the league for four days or 16 years, this is all about getting everyone on the same page. Right now we're in the infancy of building a team." The baby will take its first steps - no matter how small - when the Pistons start their two-game presea
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