The Memphis Commercial Appeal is reporting that the NBA is recognizing the Grizzlies remarkable 9-4 December by naming Lionel Hollins the Western Conference Coach of the Month.
Coach Hollins has been doing yeoman's work to get a team that most pundits claimed could never fit together back to .500 after their 1-8 start. Depending on who you talked to, the Grizzlies were supposed to be committing armed robberies or investing heavily in local strip clubs on every off night. On game nights there was a chance that they might not notch a single assist.
And those speculations were before the Grizzlies added Jamaal Tinsley, who was literally paid millions to stay the hell away from the Indiana Pacers because of his history of questionable decision-making.
Of course Grizz fans now know that those trite insults don't actually fit Zach Randolph, who has looked more like a big, happy panda bear than a hardened criminal, or the rest of this team, but Coach Hollins's work to develop Mike Conley and get this team's defense near respectability is certainly worthy of some kind of honor.
In fact I'd go so far to say that if the Coach of the Year award was voted on today, Hollins would probably be up there with Rick Adelman and Paul Westphal as top candidates. Look for him to only gain more credit as Memphis moves up the rankings and closer to playoff contention.