The Memphis Grizzlies are holding a press conference today at 1:00 PM to announce the worst kept secret in town, well at least the worst kept secret recently, when the team announces that Lionel Hollins will become the 5th permanent head coach since the franchise moved to Memphis 8 1/2 seasons ago.
Apparently the word ‘permanent’ has a meaning that is somewhat different than I thought it was.
Hollins should be well known to Grizzlies fans. He was the interim coach between the Hubie Brown and Mike Fratello regimes. He was also the interim head coach for the Vancouver Grizzlies during the 1999-2000 season compiling an 18-42 record for the team. The team was only 22-60 the entire year so Hollins actually improved the team while head coach.
Hollins was not the temporary head coach after Mike Fratello was fired as the Jerry West led Grizzlies decided to go with Tony Barone instead. In fact Hollins wanted to be the head coach after the Barone experiment but was passed over in favor of Marc Iavaroni.
Doesn’t that fill you with confidence?
Actually Hollins has an impressive resume despite never having been an actual head coach. Hollins, a former All-Star point guard for the Portland Trailblazers and NBA All-Defensive team member twice, brings a warm personality and reported excellent communication skills to the job. Both of these items were missing from the previous administration.Lionel Hollins’ jersey (#14) was retired in Portland so he was a popular and successful player there.
If Iavaroni couldn’t get today’s generation of young players to buy into his unique system then possibly Holins can get the team to buy into his more traditional philosophy. Hollins as a player was coached by legendary Dr. Jack Ramsey among others. As an assistant coach Hollins has worked 7 years in of all places Phoenix but that was before the Mike D’Antoni era so don’t count on a ultra fast paced style of play. Hollins most recently was working with the Milwaukee Bucks under Scott Skiles and no one will confuse him with run and gun basketball.
The rumor is that Hollins is coming to town with good friend and former teammate Mo Cheeks in tow. That would give more credibility to the staff which is needed right now.