Dave Joerger May Not Be the Memphis Grizzlies’ Coach of the Future
Boy have things been interesting lately in Memphis.
Memphis Grizzlies head coach Dave Joerger was recently involved in talks to become the head coach of the Minnesota Timberwolves, but owner Robert Pera was able to talk to Joerger and convince him to come back to the team for next season, even recently signing him to a contract extension. This has all come after some serious in-house changes were made to the front office staff when CEO Jason Levien and assistant general manager Stu Lash were let go from the organization just before the drama with Joerger.
Yes, Joerger is still with the Grizzlies, but is that really the best thing for the team? Is Joerger really the coach that the Grizzlies need?
Things may be patched up between Pera and Joerger, but I personally cannot buy into this fully on the part of Joerger. He was willing to interview with another team while under contract with the Grizzlies, and even though management gave him permission to be a part of the interview for the Minnesota job, his willingness to be able to bolt shows a concerning sign regarding his future with the organization. It is not guaranteed that Joerger truly sees himself involved with the Grizzlies for the foreseeable future.
Basketball wise, Joerger may not be the man for the job. He came into the Memphis job saying that he wanted to play at a faster pace with the team and focus more on getting out in transition and getting better offensive looks that way, as the team is not one of the more prolific ones in that regard. The Grizzlies are built around two interior players in Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol. While point guard Mike Conley and a few of the more athletic perimeter players can surely move the ball up the floor at a good pace, that is not the foundation the team is truly built upon. Joerger tried to initiate a faster offense at the beginning of the 2013-14 NBA season, but it failed to really take shape as the team struggled to be consistent on that end of the floor for long stretches of time. Not only did the offense suffer, but more players including Randolph and Gasol lacked the energy to compete on defense, which allowed teams to get better looks and easily put more points on the board. Conditioning of a player can always be improved, but forcing a team to play a style of basketball that is completely different from the norm can be disastrous in terms of getting better results.
If Joerger can stay committed to Memphis and suit his coaching style to the roster around him, then maybe he can be a long-term success for the Grizzlies. However, if these things cannot happen, then Joerger certainly is not the proper man for the job.
For a franchise that has had so much happen lately, the team needs as much consistency from the top as possible.
That includes the head coach.