Watching a Memphis Grizzlies game may be one of the dullest things in the world.
They play the slowest pace in the NBA, they don’t score a lot of points (third worst with 96.1 points per game) and they don’t allow a lot of points either - allowed 94.6 points per game, which was the third best in 2013-14.
The most excitement you will see will be from watching Zach Randolph bulldoze his way into the paint and fight for rebounds against taller players who are much more athletic than he is, but he will still find a way to get two points. Meanwhile on defense, Marc Gasol will lock up the paint by parking his huge 7’1”, 270lb frame in the middle of the lane.
In a nutshell it is tough, hard-nosed, pound the middle style of basketball. A simple and extremely boring brand that doesn’t attract very many spectators (20th in attendance), but it works.
Memphis has reached or surpassed the 50 win mark in each of the last two seasons(56 wins in 2012-13 and 50 wins in 2013-14) thanks to their dreary style of play. Yet on both occasions they have ended up with a different coach.
First, there was Lionel Hollins who led the team to a franchise record 56 wins in 2012-13. Not only that, the Grizzlies somehow reached the Western Conference finals, beating the L.A. Clippers and Oklahoma City Thunder along the way. That was something no one even thought was a possibility at the start of the season but there they were but it was apparently not good enough.
This year, reports suggest that David Joerger, Hollins’ former assistant coach and successor, is on his way out with a move to the Minnesota Timberwolves all but guaranteed.
Joerger met with Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor and team president Flip Saunders, who is a huge admirer of his, and Memphis is asking for just a second round draft pick as compensation. However that shouldn’t be much of a stumbling block.
That means this NBA juggernaut is searching for their third coach in three seasons and ESPN TV’s Jeff Van Gundy is reportedly at the top of their wish list having posted a 430-318 record while coaching the New York Knicks and Houston Rockets – the former made it to the 1999 NBA Finals.
However, owner Robert Pera will have a huge task of convincing Van Gundy, or any prospective coach for that matter, that Memphis is a steady ship. That won’t be an easy task following the huge changes recently such as the ousting of CEO Jason Levein and assistant general manager Stu Lash. The change in coaches after successful season doesn’t bode well either.
Such a lack of stability will no doubt have a huge bearing on the results churned out by the team. Just look at how much the Sacramento Kings have struggled in recent years having had six different coaches since 2006.
If anything, Memphis should be trying to model themselves after fellow South West division rivals San Antonio, who have been the model of stability and consistency. The Spurs have posted at least 50 wins in 15 straight seasons, won four NBA titles and are competing for a fifth in Gregg Popovich’s 18th season in charge.
If they continue the way they have been recently, guess which one Memphis will most likely resemble?
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