With a 30-something Silicon Valley owner, a former agent as CEO, a stat geek as VP of basketball operations and a first-time head coach, the Memphis Grizzlies are very much the new model for NBA franchises. Not surprisingly, they hoped to play more of a trendy style as well. Only that’s not happening any time soon. At least not as long as Zach Randolph is their best player. The Grizzlies started this season attempting to play at a faster pace and run more of a flex offense, according to several league scouts, which resulted in a 3-5 record and poundings at home by such lightweights as the Toronto Raptors and the New Orleans Pelicans. Several league sources, meanwhile, said that first-year coach Dave Joerger is getting considerable direction from the top of the team masthead, including everyone from owner Robert Pera to VP John Hollinger. “They’re suggesting lineups,” said one league source. “Aggressively.” One scout said, “It looked as if Joerger was trying to put his stamp on them and the players resisted. They were like, ‘The other way worked, so why change?’ I know they wanted to play faster, but they don’t have that kind of team. They grind.” Why abandon a style that won 56 games last season? One scout attributed it to the fact that analytics suggest more possessions—i.e., playing faster—and more drive-and-kick opportunities produce more efficient offensive numbers. There’s also the matter of having dumped veteran coach Lionel Hollins for the neophyte Joerger, in part because Hollins wasn’t enthralled with having front-office numbers-crunchers telling him what offensive sets he should use.
The New-Look Memphis Grizzlies? That Experiment Didn't Last Long
Bleacher Report | Nov 26