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For those who haven’t heard yet John Hollinger, of ESPN fame, has left the sports network for a front office position with the Memphis Grizzlies. 

His title is Vice President of Basketball Operations. The rumor is that Hollinger is replacing Kenny Williamson who passed away this year from cancer. The interesting thing is that Hollinger’s new job title is identical to Chris Wallace’s title sans the General Manager tag. Does this mean that Hollinger is replacing Kenny Williams or stepping into Chris Wallace’s turf?

Right now it’s anyone’s guess. 3 Shades of Blue has been unable to contact anyone in the Grizzlies front office to confirm the reports but the Commercial Appeal is reporting Hollinger will report directly to Jason Levien, the new CEO of the Grizzlies not Wallace. 

According to the Grizzlies press release Hollinger will work alongside Chris Wallace and Stu Lash. Lash was hired today as well as Director of Player Personnel and Basketball Development. “We are thrilled to have John and Stu join the Grizzlies,” said Grizzlies CEO and Managing Partner Jason Levien. “Both of these individuals will provide innovative and unique perspectives that bolster the organization’s future.”

Hollinger has no front office experience with an NBA team but has been well received for his innovative PER rating at ESPN which gives a numerical rank to every NBA player’s on court productivity. Similar in nature to the Wages of Wins numbers that 3 Shades of Blue has referenced for years.

From the Grizzlies press release:
Before joining ESPN, Hollinger covered the NBA for and The New York Sun. He also authored four annual editions of the Pro Basketball Forecast. He first gained notoriety nearly 20 years ago as the creator of, a Web site devoted to basketball analytics. Hollinger is a native of New Jersey, where he played on his high school basketball team, and graduated from the University of Virginia with degrees in Economics and Environmental Science.

“It is clear to me that this is an organization that is focused on building thoughtful decision-making processes and establishing a forward-thinking culture of sustained success,” Hollinger said. “Working in Memphis and being part of the new vision and leadership was an opportunity I just could not pass up.”

Lash comes to the Grizzlies after serving as Vice President of Basketball for Lagardere Unlimited since 2009. Lash spent five NBA seasons with the Denver Nuggets where he worked with the front office and coaching staffs, including serving as the scouting and video coordinator. He was responsible for draft analysis, scouting efforts, scouting schedules and upcoming game preparation.  Lash graduated from the University of Massachusetts in Amherst.

In addition, the Grizzlies announced that longtime Grizzlies’ employee Chantal Hassard will assume the expanded role of Director of Team Operations. Hassard, now in her 18th season, will manage the team’s administration systems and development while working closely with the coaching staff. Hassard will serve as the team’s player development representative providing Grizzlies players with educational programs and critical support services.

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5 Responses to Is Hollinger PER-fect for Grizzlies?

  1. Lee Eric SmithNo Gravatar says:

    I’m thinking this is a pretty major pickup for the Grizzlies. If I’m correct, Hollinger more or less invented advanced stats for the NBA game. What will be interesting will be:

    • How involved Coach Hollins was in the decision.
    • How much influence Hollinger will have on coaching decisions (“Lionel, overall offensive efficiency plummets when Rudy is in isolation plays . . . can you tell him to stop?”)
    • How will those advanced stats translate from objective insight for fans into strategic advantage for the team?
    • Who will Levien listen to in the draft room?

    But I am VERY excited!

    • Steve DickinsonNo Gravatar says:

      I don’t know how much Hollins buy into the sabermetrics.
      I hope Hollinger does have a good amount of influence on Hollins.
      Hollingers PER isn’t the best all-in-one metric, but I’m sure he will have better analysis that he won’t be telling anyone else about now he is employed to bring competitive advantage to the Grizz.
      Hollingers expertise isn’t really with projecting talent (college, internationals etc) – it is more in identifying existing talent that others can’t see (FA and trades).
      At the very least, I hope Hollinger can increase the love of rebounding skills and efficient shooting. Rebounding is an under-rated and under-paid NBA skill (see ridicule of Houston’s Asik signing, lack of playing time for Faried last year etc).

      The hiring of Hollinger goes hand in hand with the releasing of the other scouts. Hollinger was brought in to improve their talent identification.

  2. kasdNo Gravatar says:

    ranking the grizz players this season using hollinger’s (per)…..

    Gasol (20.95)
    Zbo (20.37)
    Conley (18.10)
    Rudy (16.67)
    Speights (14.15)
    Bayless (13.38)
    QPon (10.84)
    TA (10.49)
    DA (10.31)
    Ellington (8.71)
    HH (-2.39)
    Wroten (-10.45)
    Selby (-21.03)

    just thought it’s interesting………..

  3. […] The Grizzlies announced on Thursday that ESPN Stats Guru John Hollinger would be leaving the sports net to become VP of Basketball Operations…My mind immediately went back to this post which originally appeared in July, which talks about how […]

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