That just was not pretty. And not in the “pleasantly unpretty” way we grew accustomed to seeing earlier in the season.
They’re all just lost….or are they? There are a couple of possibilities here…
…but first, the game.
It was horrible. The Grizzlies, known for their defensive prowess (allowing under 90 a game, and YES I KNOW THAT DOESN’T ACCOUNT FOR THEIR TURTLE-ON-DEMEROL PACE), have allowed two distinctly middle-pack scoring teams to shoot WAY too well over the last two nights.
Ok, ok, they lost. Let’s talk about the team’s current state of disarray.
Scenario one: Lionel is just out of his depth having to make such a drastic change in midseason, and that’s why he’s trying to firm the ground under his x-and-o feet by demanding that the pick and roll dominate the offense (although ZBo did get his work in with the ball against ATL, going a very pleasant 10-18, with Gasol and Conley the only other two Griz with double-figure shot attempts). Lionel feeling lost would also explain the wacky rotations, but I’m inclined to think….
Scenario two: …that LH is just thumbing his nose at his new bosses, saying “well, if you’re gonna turn over five players on me, I’m gonna stage a ‘who can earn minutes’ training camp in the middle of February”. This might imply that he still wants to make it work, but is just going about it in his Hollins-ian way..that is to say, by striking the problem with a blunt object. Sure, it could easily be inferred that he’s just trying odd (in that they’re new and unknown) combinations to see what works and what doesn’t-but I gotta figure he is relishing the roughness of it. “See, you guys, I told ya this would have to happen”.
Scenario three, and a less desirable outcome: the players have “quit on the front office”. It’s hard to say that it’s just about the old “chemistry and gelling” thing-rotations against ATL and PHX were sometimes nonexistent, sometimes slow, and sometimes adequate. Almost never top-notch. Hard to believe that guys like TA and ZBo would ever dive so deeply into such an ocean of sulk as to conspire to try to show the FO what kind of mistake the players think they’ve made, but who knows. Side possibility: the players are annoyed with Hollins’ rotational and play-calling weirdness, and are easing back on the effort until he lets them steer the ship in the direction they want it to go (inmate/asylum style).
Scenario four is farfetched, and quite undesirable. Remember the dinner with Pera early on when Gasol and Conley were the only ones invited, and Rudy’s and Zach’s comments regarding such dinner came across with a potentially negative connotation? I’m WAAAYYY out on a completely uninformed limb here, especially since Gasol and Conley both emphatically suggested/pleaded/etc. that Pera and Levien not break up the team this season…but what if Pera and Levien told them that they might be the only members of the “core” left after the dealing was done? Gasol and Conley have both had their struggles lately-”rough patch” is not an overstatement-and if the rest of the team looks at Mike and Marc as the “golden children” who are protected from the turmoil, that’s a recipe for disaster.
There are other permutations/iterations/possibilities here, and heck, even if the Grizzlies start totally stinkin’ to high heaven, it should be worth sticking around just to dig on the entertainment that a meltdown would surely guarantee.