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."