Back in 2008 you would have been hard pressed to find a bigger critic in the media of Memphis Grizzlies General Manager Chris Quinn than this veteran NBA observer. The team was in disarray after trading their bet player Pau Gasol to the Los Angeles Lakers receiving center Kwame Brown, the rights to Gasol’s brother Marc as well as draft picks. The Lakers with Gasol would make it to the NBA Finals before falling to the Boston Celtics while the Grizzlies looked as if they were years away from contending in the tough NBA Western Conference.
Although the Lakers have prospered with Gasol on their roster having won the last two NBA Titles; things have improved vastly in the last three seasons for the Memphis squad. Quinn drafted wisely and retained two key players when their contracts expired keeping Zach Randolph and Rudy Gay in the fold. They also brought in veteran Tony Allen who had played for the Boston Celtics to bolster their bench this year. Marc Gasol has become an asset for the team as he now starts at center and Mike Conley as well as O.J. Mayo have helped the team not only make it to the Post Season for the first time in years but they lead the number one seed in the West, the San Antonio Spurs by a 3-1 margin in their first round Playoff series.
Another big factor in the success and growth over the past couple of years is the team’s head coach Lionel Hollins who has been able to meld the veterans and young players on his squad to make them a winning combination. Hollins was a scrappy player during his time in the Association and he has instilled that attitude in his team. The result is a team that battles most nights for 48 minutes and has them on the verge of advancing for the first time in the club’s history in the Playoffs.
It appears that I was wrong about Quinn three years ago as he has taken this team and turned them into a viable NBA franchise with what looks to be a very bright future. Up until this spring the Grizzlies had never won a Post Season game in their three visits to the Playoffs. They have already conquered one demon in this series and if they win they shall conquer yet another one. Chris Quinn deserves the credit for that as well as how quickly he was able to turn his teams fortunes around.