Grizzlies Part Way With Hollins Despite Great Success

memphisgrizzliesNo good deed goes unpunished in the NBA.  After leading the Memphis Grizzlies to the franchise’s best season ever, Lionel Hollins has been let go as head coach.  Since taking over the team, Hollins has improved the team’s winning percentage in each successive season. This year was no different as he recorded a franchise record 56 regular season win and got the team to the conference finals, also a first for the franchise.  Hollins stands as the only coach to get the Memphis Grizzlies out of the first round, a feat that included an upset over the San Antonio Spurs in the 2010/2011 season. 

Lionel Hollins will likely not be out of a job for long.

Lionel Hollins will likely not be out of a job for long.

The Grizzlies started hot this season, holding onto the number one position in the league for some time before their record came down a little.  A mid-season blockbuster that saw the front office move Rudy Gay, the teams’ top scorer, for the defensive minded Tayshaun Prince did not receive much praise from teammates or the coaching staff as many viewed it as a means of reducing payroll rather than making the team better.   It was thought a trade earlier in the season that saw Marreese Speights get moved for next to nothing was done for similar reasons.  Still, Hollins lead the team into the playoffs where they dispensed of both the Los Angeles Clippers and the Oklahoma City Thunder (who both had lost All-Stars to injury) before being swept by the San Antonio Spurs.  The move was reminiscent of the Chicago Bulls firing of Doug Collins after Collins had gotten the team to the conference finals despite some offseason trades that were not well received by players and coaches alike. 

Several teams have already expressed an interest in Hollins and with his success over the past four seasons, he should not be out of a job for long.  The Grizzlies, on the other hand, despite having the reigning Defensive Player of the Year in Marc Gasol, also have three starters on the wrong side of 30 and likely will struggle to match the success enjoy during Hollins’ tenure without making some big moves. 

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