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15.10.2014
The Grizzlies beat the Suns Sunday in 2OT to snap a 2-game losing streak and move to 26-11 on the season. Hollins had his new team solidly in playoff contention and playing .500 ball before a recent 5-game losing streak. You gotta figure the NY media will ask Hollins about the Grizzlies, about the past, about the split. Hollins, as you would expect, hasn’t stopped being a quote machine since moving north.
Hollins made waves when Prince William and Duchess Kate attended a Nets game earlier this year. It was this brand of leadership and attitude that, in large part, made the current Grizzlies what they are. Oh boy, like the Grizzlies didn’t already have bad enough publicity, now they have to deal with their coach going all Bruce Boudreau on some fans. It’s inappropriate for fans to use that sort of language, unacceptable by players, and unheard of for a coach to go off on fans like that. Making matters worse, apparently the fans are hardcore Grizzlies supporters who have six season tickets to Memphis games. The Memphis Grizzlies organization didn’t gain any fans with the public charade and eventual firing of head coach Lionel Hollins. Head Coach Lionel Hollins led the Memphis Grizzlies to 56 wins, despite losing leading scorer Rudy Gay on January 31st. The Grizzlies made the Western Conference Finals for the first time in team history on the shoulders of forward Zach Randolph and Defensive Player of the Year Marc Gasol.
The relationship between Hollins and the Grizzlies brass began to unravel in December when the team hired former ESPN analyst and contributor John Hollinger as their new Vice President of Basketball Operations. As an extension of the Player Efficiency Rating, Hollinger also developed a simpler formula that quantifies how impressive a player’s individual performance is in a given game. When the Grizzlies traded Rudy Gay, Hollins agonized over how management valued numbers over coaching instincts. Tension between coach and management spilled onto the practice floor during the Grizzlies playoff run.
Then there is Hollins — who took a team teetering between the next level and mediocrity and put them on the doorstep of the NBA Finals. If you notice the Grizzlies begin to take a step backwards, players begin to demand trades, start defections during free agency and the suddenly proud Grizzlies fan base fizzles down to almost nothing, thank John Hollinger. Many of the players had personal rifts with coach Hollins (Tony Allen, Zach Randolph, Jerryd Bayless, etc). On Monday, they’ll welcome Jeff Green and Russ Smith to the team and then gear up for the final 4 games before the literal halfway point of the NBA season.


The Nets, now in the 8th spot in the East, will be desperate to break their losing streak against the Grizzlies. But sometimes you get the feeling that Hollins burned so many bridges in Memphis that maybe he doesn’t get the credit he deserves. According to Chris Vernon via CBS Sports, Grizzlies coach Lionel Hollins told a group of 17-year-old kids to “shut the **** up” after they made noise questioning his decision to leave center Hasheem Thabeet in the game instead of replacing him with Zach Randolph.
Hollinger was brought in to primarily orchestrate the Grizzlies movement towards analytics.
For a coach with an old school approach like Hollins, it couldn’t have come at a worse time.
By the end of the season, the Grizzlies were better at both ends of the floor — casting the die for Hollins tenure in Memphis. In the middle of a practice session, Hollinger took the liberty to engage reserve Austin Daye during a shooting drill.
It was Hollins who berated him after a loss in Portland back in 2011 while he was still at ESPN.
Of those teams, it was Hollins’ Grizzlies who advanced the deepest in the postseason. On one hand, this team went to the conference finals for the first time, and had the best season to date. In particular, the relationship between Zach and Hollins was especially stringent because Lionel openly favored the trading of Zach over Rudy.
Soo the western conference finals had two old school coaches, the eastern conference had one. And you gotta figure his answer will be spontaneous, unfiltered, honest and probably hilarious. Before Hollins took over the Grizzlies in January of 2009, they had absolutely zero identity beyond that of a struggling, wayward franchise.
As much as everyone would love to unload on people heckling them, sometimes you just can’t.
In the postseason, Memphis took care of the Clippers and Thunder in six and five games, respectively.
During the Grizzlies playoff run, there was an uneven view of the team despite their postseason success.
While other teams were interviewing prospective replacements, Hollins twisted in the wind like a giveaway t-shirt fired from an air cannon. Whatever Hollins used to bring the once troubled Randolph’s career into focus needs to be bottled and sold.
Gay was a decent player, but the jury was definitely out on whether or not he should have been the franchise player.


Also the majority of the team favors Dave Joeger over Hollins because of his tactical prowess and calm demeanor. And I’ll also take the opportunity to reiterate a point I’ve made before: just because you’ve bought a ticket doesn’t give you the right to act like a jackass at a game.
After bowing out to the San Antonio Spurs in the Western Conference Finals in four games, the Grizzlies brass has given Hollins his walking papers — two weeks after permitting him to speak to other teams. Talk of re-signing head coach Lionel Hollins should have been at the top of the Grizzlies to-do list.
There was little, if any mention of Hollins coming back next season to coach the Grizzlies to their fourth straight playoff appearance. Carlesimo was an interim guy in Brooklyn and it’s natural for the Nets to want to bring in someone with a name.
He and center Marc Gasol were his own vision of former teammates Maurice Lucas and Bill Walton. He undoubtedly coached that team to the finals, but it’s very hard to say how much the analytics came into play. Normal manners and good behavior is still expected (though I know that’s asking a lot) for some people. The tension between Hollins and management came into greater focus as the playoffs progressed. With nothing left but his dignity as a coach, Hollins tore into Hollinger about what he was doing and why he believed it was appropriate to intrude on what is considered holy ground between coach and team. It’s safe to say Hollins saw a little of the 1977 Portland Trail Blazers in his 2013 Memphis Grizzlies. Grumblings about  Hollins future came from the upper management long before Memphis was eliminated. Similarly, the OKC series told them nothing about themselves because Westbrook didn’t play. I can only have faith in the organization now, and hope thu are one, two or even three steps ahead of what I’m thinking. Ditto the Los Angeles Clippers — who felt firing Vinny Del Negro brings them a step closer to keeping Chris Paul. Perhaps only the San Antonio series was truly indicative of the limitations of this roster without Gay.
Hollins is currently one of the leading candidates for the head coaching job with the Los Angeles Clippers.



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