Tag Archives: Lionel Hollins

Lionel Hollins, Grizzlies Story Has Happy Ending (Video)

Lionel Hollins returned to Memphis tonight – and everything was as it should be.

Hollins is in his element – trying to change the culture of the Brooklyn Nets franchise. His team (21-31) is struggling now, and the franchise is for sale – but here’s hoping he gets the opportunity to continue an overhaul in Brooklyn.

The Grizzlies have moved on nicely as well. Hollins’ former players are veterans now – and perhaps Dave Joerger’s more balanced style is a better for fit for what the franchise needs at this point in time.

All’s well that ends well.

To top it all off – the Grizzlies put together a touching tribute video to Hollins, which resulted in a great ovation for the former coach. It was a cool moment. If you missed it, here’s the video:

Grizzlies Opponents Admire Defense, Rebounding & Chemistry

The Memphis Grizzlies finished off a 2-0 road trip last night winning at Orlando 106-96. On Wednesday, the Grizzlies defeated Brooklyn and former coach Lionel Hollins. Memphis now gets 5 consecutive games at FedExForum – a great opportunity to stockpile some more wins heading to the halfway point of the season. The Grizzlies are currently 28-11 and within 4 games of the #1 seed, but also within 4 games of the #7 seed. The West is a grind – but Memphis is well positioned.

Understanding the Grizzlies from the point of view of their opponents is a good way to comprehend exactly why the Grizzlies are such a tough out right now, especially when fully healthy – and the answer isn’t groundbreaking. According to Nets and Magic players and coaches – the Grizzlies are NBA Championship contenders at the moment for 3 primary reasons: (1) Chemistry, (2) Defense, and (3) Rebounding. Here’s a quick summary of what the Grizzlies’ opponents had to say after facing them this week.

Quotes courtesy of the Orlando Sentinel and New York Post.

1. Experience and Chemistry:

Hollins on the fact that the Grizzlies have grown up together:

“Those guys were puppies, and now they’re men.”

“The nucleus has been there for a long time with Zach, Marc, Mike and Tony. Those guys have been there from the get and they are a big part of winning and as long as they are together they are going to have a winning [group].”

Orlando Magic Coach Jacque Vaughn on the Grizzlies experience:

“But you give those guys credit. They’ve been doing it together for a long time.”

2. Defense and Rebounding:

Hollins on what makes the Grizzlies so good:

“That’s what they do, they’ve got two big guys. … Zach had 20 points, Marc had 18 and most of them were in the paint for both of them. That’s their game. They’re a very good defensive team, they’re a very good rebounding team, and that’s why they’re one of the best teams in the league.”

Victor Oladipo’s take on the Grizzlies:

“It seemed like every option we had, they kind of took it away. We just had to play off instincts, really, and just go out there and figure out a way to score. But they’re a great defensive team, a great overall team. They’ve got great players over there, great defensive players over there.

Adding Jeff Green is going to help the team offensively – as will getting Mike Conley back healthy and everyone clicking together. But the key to this team has been and continues to be defense, rebounding and chemistry.



Forget Jeff Green, It’s Lionel Hollins Week for the Grizzlies

The Grizzlies beat the Suns Sunday in 2OT to snap a 2-game losing streak and move to 26-11 on the season. On Monday, they’ll welcome Jeff Green and Russ Smith to the team and then gear up for the final 4 games before the literal halfway point of the NBA season. The Memphis Grizzlies are legitimate NBA Title Contenders.

With the Green trade finalized and the team moving back to 15 games over .500, these are heady times for Grizzlies fans. But none of that qualifies as the most exciting part of the upcoming week.

The most exciting part of this week? A reunion with former Head Coach Lionel Hollins – who now coaches the Brooklyn Nets.

The Grizzlies play at Brooklyn on Wednesday.

Hollins had his new team solidly in playoff contention and playing .500 ball before a recent 5-game losing streak. The Nets, now in the 8th spot in the East, will be desperate to break their losing streak against the Grizzlies.

You gotta figure the NY media will ask Hollins about the Grizzlies, about the past, about the split. And you gotta figure Hollins will answer the questions. And you gotta figure his answer will be spontaneous, unfiltered, honest and probably hilarious.

Hollins, as you would expect, hasn’t stopped being a quote machine since moving north.

  • Last Thursday, Hollins called Brook Lopez “lazy” after he gave up on a play too early.
  • Hollins has been blunt in his assessment of his current team overall: “We are not a very good team.”
  • Hollins made waves when Prince William and Duchess Kate attended a Nets game earlier this year. Asked how he felt about their visit, Hollins made it clear he wasn’t impressed (from a FTW story, via Netsdaily):

“I don’t like answering those questions. What does it mean to me, or to any normal person? I wouldn’t be crazy even if the Pope came over…unless I was Catholic…. I mean, they’re just people that everybody sees on TV. Does that make them better people? They have more money than you, does that make them better people? It doesn’t make them better than you. I know a lot of people with money that I wouldn’t want to hang with…. They serve their purpose for their country, and they do what they do. If they came in and said they wanted to meet me, I’d be honored. But if they don’t, no sweat.”

That’s Lionel Hollins. He doesn’t GAF about the Prince of England and he doesn’t GAF about telling you that he doesn’t GAF. You really have to respect that. Let’s not rehash the stories about why Hollins fell out of favor with Grizz management and how all that stuff went down – Hollins will probably do that himself this week if someone bothers to ask him, which I’m sure they will. And whatever you think of it, it will be funny, and honest, and refreshing.

So let’s not re-litigate that conflict. Everyone has moved on anyway.

For now, let’s just admire a man who isn’t a corporate mouthpiece. Let’s admire a man who isn’t afraid to say whatever he wants, whenever he wants. And don’t misunderstand that. There are plenty of people in all walks of life who aren’t afraid to run their mouth – but who should be more discriminating because what they say isn’t true, or is hurtful, or hateful or otherwise ill conceived. What Hollins says is usually true, or merely his opinion, and it isn’t typically hurtful – and a lot of times it’s just funny as hell.

Hollins, as followers of the Grizzlies are well aware, is a throwback. Here’s a good piece done on Hollins by Johnette Howard of ESPN New York. In it, Hollins explains his methods, which are more about leadership and bringing about change than anger or politics:

“I am combative. I’m not afraid of conflict or confrontation. I am confrontational,” Hollins adds. “As a leader, you have to be. I mean, what do you get out of people if you just sit back and let them do what they want to do, without any confrontation? My feeling is there can be no change without confrontation. You go back through history, every change had some kind of conflict before there was change. Nobody is doing something different because they want to. It’s because somebody creates conflict that makes them.”

It was this brand of leadership and attitude that, in large part, made the current Grizzlies what they are. The players, the franchise, heck even the fan base – all have Hollins’ fingerprints on them. Before Hollins took over the Grizzlies in January of 2009, they had absolutely zero identity beyond that of a struggling, wayward franchise.

Sure, there are plenty of other people – players, management, etc – who have poured massive amounts of energy and effort into what the Grizzlies have become. But sometimes you get the feeling that Hollins burned so many bridges in Memphis that maybe he doesn’t get the credit he deserves. I suspect we’ll hear more about that this week, too.

But let’s try not to really worry about that. This week, let’s just admire Hollins’ style as Memphians continue to enjoy the product he helped develop.