Right when the Grizzlies get going, winning four of their last six games, along comes the blasted All-Star break.
“I wish the All-Star break wasn’t coming up,” Grizzlies’ general manager Chris Wallace said. “(New Grizzlies coach) Lionel (Hollins), in a short period of time, has made a positive impact. He and his staff are positioning us to have a successful close to the season.”
The Grizzlies now have chemistry, they are playing solid defense and they have discipline—something they didn’t have under previous coach Marc Iavaroni.
“We’re moving the ball better, we just feel better playing for a new coach,” center Darko Milicic said. “We are playing defense a lot better, helping each other more.”
That’s an extension of Hollins’ practices. They are two hours long and filled with defensive drills. Under Iavaroni, practices were 45-minute pickup games.
Hollins is making his players more accountable and more professional in every way possible. He cut out the breakfasts and the lunches the team had been providing the players before and after practices. Recently, he stopped Darius Miles before he took the court for a pre-game workout. Hollins subtly asked the veteran forward to remove the earrings he intended to wear onto the court.
“Little things add up,” Wallace said. “Lionel is a stickler for practicing hard and having a team in excellent physical condition. We’re practicing hard, and we’re practicing longer. There’s a payoff on this.”
Hollins certainly believes so and so do the players, who are anxious to close strong now that they feel they have some strong, but even-handed direction.
“When I first came here, I told the team that we have to earn the respect of the fans, the media, the officials, everybody,” Hollins said. “And it comes one step at a time. Every time you go out there and play hard and play well and play together, you earn respect. But then to win on top of it, you win the skeptics back. It makes people think about coming back to games, because they see the Ws.”
No f*cking wonder these guys were looking like clueless fools out there. Iavaroni held 45 minute practices which were just a scrimmage game. They wouldn't have learnt a damn thing just playing a pick up game.
After seeing that, I am glad that Iavaroni is gone.
Hollins has been doing a great job so far. I think most of us weren't too happy about the signing of Hollins, but I think it's fair to say that he has got these guys on the right track.
Re: Iavaroni didn't develop the young talent (article inside)
Yeah ivaroni is probably a good assistant. But he was a horrble head coach. He should have been fired after the first season. You look back on that team and I have no idea how that team didnt do better and I can only point the blame partially at ivaroni.
You had conley,lowry, damon stoudamire, miller, navarro, gay, warrick, gasol, millic, and swift. A coach that is just ok could of won at least 30 games with that line up. Hollins could of won that much. Im glad hes gone.