Thursday, February 26, 2009
Behind The Scoreboard
What will make the Memphis Grizzlies better? (Hey, I am nothing if not direct!) What core ingredient is needed to turn the “cubs” into really bad, mean, growling, winning Grizzlies?
The Griz have tried some mixes which have aided other teams not performing to a desired potential. They started with a change of venue. They have used coaching changes, seemingly with little or no lasting effect. They have shuffled the players’ deck almost as often as contestants in the Wide World of Poker. Ultimately, they seem to end up with more jokers than aces.
The Griz even imported a respected mastermind, considered to be arguably the guru of the court. His tenure produced a lukewarm contender at best, no franchise of championship caliber.
A few games ago, the Griz reached into its past and recycled a former assistant coach, elevated him to the place of honor(?) and placed on his shoulders the task of re-re-remaking the Memphis Grizzlies. Is Lionel Hollins the man for this task? Is anyone the “man” for this task?
We are not trying to bury the Griz here. They are not the worst team in the league. As of last Saturday night, of the 30 franchises which comprise the NBA, 14 of them were playing below .500. Of course, Memphis is part of this “birds of a feather” group but they are not the worst. There are four (Washington, L.A. Clippers, Oklahoma City and Sacramento) teams below the Griz.
New mentor Hollins believes that he is at the right place at exactly the right time. And he has one important factor on his side – youth. The Griz is studded with young players, some of who appear to be already headed for stardom. Will this collection of Mayos, Gasols and Conleys be allowed to stay together long enough to form that special homogeneity which equates to champion? That has to be the unknown factor of this equation, given the Griz’ trading history.
We fans know that the Grizzlies won’t catch the Spurs, Celtics, Magic, Lakers, Cavaliers or Nuggets this season, but their entire fan base is hoping that they have made this part of their goals.
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