Rivers understands Lawrence Frank's problems with young Pistons


Rivers understands Lawrence Frank's problems with young Pistons

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. The Detroit Pistons have lost nine of their first 10 games which tied the worst start in franchise history.

With such a young team (Detroit is the third-youngest team in the East behind Cleveland and Charlotte), growing pains are a given for former Celtics assistant coach Lawrence Frank who is now in his second season as the Pistons' head coach.

Doc Rivers knows all too well what Frank is going through now, having been part of one of the worst seasons in Celtics history before a slew of shrewd moves catapulted the C's from cellar dwellers into perennial contenders.

"It's just tough to win with young players," said Rivers, adding, "it really is unless you have one young player that's just so much better than all the other young players then everybody can buy into their roles."

Although Pistons center Greg Monroe is among the NBA's better up-and-coming big men, he by no means is an established talent whose play demands others to easily step in line and follow.

With so many young players, there is an inherit battle to establish themselves as individuals and not collectively as a team.

Rivers recalls the battles in practice between Rajon Rondo, Sebastian Telfair and Delonte West.

"Rondo, Sebastian and Delonte West, I remember those guys, you had to separate them half the time," Rivers said. "And then we got to the game, whoever started, won and could care less about the game; that's how you felt.

Rivers added, "Lawrence is going through a lot of the same stuff. You have to keep at it. I tell Lawrence that all the time."

Patriots acquire linebacker Kyle Van Noy from Lions


Patriots acquire linebacker Kyle Van Noy from Lions

The Patriots acquired Kyle Van Noy, who was the Lions’ 2014 second-round pick and starting linebacker this season, on Tuesday. 

Why former Pats executive Bob Quinn would send a starter East for what is reportedly just a conditional draft pick is something we’ll try to ferret out.

The Patriots were no doubt interested because they lost Jonathan Freeny to IR with an injury, rookie Elandon Roberts is an undersized thumper (Van Noy is 6-3, 252) and Shea McClellin is well, just… there so far.

Van Noy has two years remaining on his rookie deal so -- provided he shows something -- he could be around awhile. The move -- one week before the trade deadline -- is a familiar one from the Patriots who added players like Jonathan Casillas and Akeem Ayers in 2014 prior to their Super Bowl run.

This story from last season indicates that Van Noy’s lack of production in his first two seasons with the Lions was merely a matter of circumstance. 

Perhaps. We’ll find out soon enough. Meanwhile, the name Van Noy made me perk up because I remembered him as having a central role in the excellent book The System by Jeff Benedict and Armen Keteyian.

Read the excerpt on Van Noy here. It will give you a better understanding of the road he’s traveled.

Report: Patriots trade for Lions LB Kyle Van Noy


Report: Patriots trade for Lions LB Kyle Van Noy

The Patriots have added more depth at linebacker, and they've reached out to an old friend to do it.

According to ESPN, the team has agreed to a deal with the Lions in order to acquire linebacker Kyle Van Noy. The compensation has not yet been disclosed. 

Van Noy, who was a second-round pick out of BYU, is listed at 6-foot-3, 243 pounds. He played 36 snaps in Detroit's win over Washington on Sunday, recording two tackles.

The Patriots lost depth at linebacker when veteran Jonathan Freeny landed on injured reserve with a shoulder issue before New England's Week 6 game in Cleveland. Van Noy will fill in behind Dont'a Hightower and Jamie Collins, providing insurance alongside rookie Elandon Roberts, Barkevious Mingo and Shea McClellin. Defensive end Rob Ninkovich has also seen time at linebacker this season. 

Collins and Hightower have both dealt with health issues over the last two seasons, often pressing reserves into action. Collins returned to the field over the weekend after missing Week 6 with a hip issue. Hightower missed Weeks 2 and 3 due to a knee injury he suffered in Week 1 against the Cardinals. 

Van Noy has played in 30 games since entering the league. His seven career starts have all come this season. He has 32 career tackles and one sack. Going into the draft in 2014, the All-Independent Defensive Player of the Year was viewed as a stand-out athlete with good quickness, a high football IQ and an ability to run with backs and tight ends in coverage. 

That the Patriots and Lions were able to work out a deal comes as little surprise. Detriot general manager Bob Quinn has a close relationship with Bill Belichick and Nick Caserio as he worked in New England from 2000-2015. Quinn began with the team as a personnel assistant, worked his way up the ladder, and from 2012 through 2015 he served as the director of pro scouting.