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Lionel Hollins Is Probably Out In Memphis After Blowup With John Hollinger


Lionel Hollins will more than likely not return as the Memphis Grizzlies head coach after negotiations for a contract extension soured over the weekend. On Sunday, the Grizzlies gave Hollins permission to speak with other teams about coaching vacancies. One source describes the conflict between the two parties as “philosophical differences.”

These differences have primarily been between Hollins and former ESPN writer and current Grizzlies VP of Basketball Operations John Hollinger. Hollinger has brought in the “new school” advanced metrics culture to the Memphis front office that has clashed with Hollins’ “old school” coaching style.

The first signs of tension between the two came after the Rudy Gay trade, which Hollins publicly criticized.

Recently, there has been a report of Hollins blowing up at Hollinger during a playoff practice for walking in during a shooting drill and talking to forward Austin Daye. Sources said, Hollins proceeded to blow up at Hollinger as he considered a practice to be a sacred place for a coach and his players to interact.

There’s no question Hollins has been a good coach in Memphis. He has steadily helped raise the Grizzlies’ winning percentage from 48 percent to 68 percent in his four full seasons coaching the team. However he’s just a bad fit with the new front office.

Hollinger subscribes to the new wave thinking that coaches and players should consult advanced statistics to influence decisionmaking during games. This means a greater interaction between the nerds in the front office and the coaching staff/players downstairs. Judging by recent events, the Memphis front office is willing to let Hollins go to further Hollinger’s vision for the organization.


  • NC

    The wins actually coincide with Tony Allen bringing defensive intensity to Memphis

  • PW

    so you’re tellin me a guy who plays hard defense but can’t hit a jump shot to save his own life is the reason that Memphis has improved each year? That’s a good joke. Hollins is the reason everyone else started to play team defense.

  • NC

    PW – I’m saying that “defense wins championships” – Tony already has one, btw…..
    This ridiculous fallacy about Tony not being able to score has been repeated over and over./started in Boston and continued on –guess what? Not true. He is not the best at jump shooting BUT it is only because he doesn’t do it very much, anymore.
    Tony scored over a 1000 points in two years at Ok State. Also, you need to look no further than the Memphis Tigers (when he played for Ok State and annihilated them in the NCAA tournament.) to see that he can score points.
    Tony’s misses are played up –Now, what was the fg percentage of Zach? What about our 3- point shooters? Basically, his offense is every bit as good as anybody else on that team.
    Like I said (CORRECTLY) – we started winning when Tony Allen arrived and taught the team defensive intensity, period…..
    Also, you might want to check the point totals right after the Rudy Gay trade —Tony was averaging about 16 points a game WHEN Hollins was smart enough to play him those minutes…..Then we decided to bench him and started losing….. Cause and effect, yes.

  • NC

    So not true about the defense —

  • Nc

    Actually, in the Memphis game, he shut down their star scorer….Here’s his fg percentage at Ok State….note the high percentage for shots taken….Eddie Sutton doesn’t tolerate people who take poor shots…You will be sitting on the bench if you play with a “shooters” mentality.

    Tony Allen Stat Summary:Season MP GPPG FG% 3FG% FT%

    G2003-04 31.6 16.05 .429 .767.

    2002-03 31.2 14. 444. 739.56 9.12.75. 40.81 .9
    Career 1.415.347.634.668.

  • Christopher Livesay

    The Rudy Gay trade was not a factor until we encountered a team that could stop Zach and Mark inside. Without Rudy we had no one to make them pay. Lionel probably had a sense of that. Against most teams he made no difference. Against a great team maybe a big difference.

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