Memphis Grizzlies Head Coach Dave Joerger has been one of the most criticized head coaches in the NBA this season. Joerger’s team struggled mightily in the early part of the season starting off 3-5.
After the Grizzlies 3-5 start, they became the 4th team in NBA history to go 4-0 on a California road trip that included the Clippers, Lakers, Kings and Warriors. At 7-5 the Grizzlies welcomed the rival San Antonio Spurs to town, and that night everything went south.
Marc Gasol would leave the game early in the 2nd quarter with a grade 2 MCL sprain. The Grizzlies went 10-13 after the injury and were sitting at 18-19 looking on the outside in for a playoff spot. Since the return of Marc Gasol, the Grizzlies are 20-7 and currently sit in a tie with Dallas for the 7th spot in the West.
The one person who hasn’t received much credit for the recent winning surge is 1st year coach Dave Joerger. I can say I was highly critical of the Joerger hire after the Grizzlies let go of Lionel Hollins. I couldn’t grasp my head around the fact that they would let go of a coach who made the Western Conference Finals and had the best season in Franchise History at 56-26.
I finally came to realize that since Gasol’s return, Grizzlies basketball is fun to watch again. The team has been firing on all cylinders. We’ve seen a more up-tempo approach to the offense, and the defense is still ranked #4 in scoring. It’s come to my attention that you can’t expect the Grizzlies to have the #1 scoring defense giving up only 89 ppg like they did in 2013 especially since the other current playoff teams in the West all average over 103 ppg.
Though Joerger’s more up-tempo style of basketball may not be as enjoyable as the slow tempo half court game that Hollin’s played, he should still get a lot of the credit for the teams recent success. Here’s hoping to a successful tenure for Dave Joerger as the Grizzlies head coach!