Speaking with the media this weekend, Lionel Hollins had made an interesting comment about the 2011-12 Memphis Grizzlies. When asked whether or not he thought this season was a disappointment, after their first-round exit in the playoffs to the Los Angeles Clippers, Hollins responded:
"We had the best season winning percentage in franchise history (62.1) and the best home winning percentage (78.8) in franchise history," Hollins said. "If you make the playoffs, it's got to be a good season."
Fair enough, I've made that argument time and again in terms of Hollins' credentials as a top candidate for Coach of the Year, but I think you have to separate the regular season from the post season when assessing this team. YES, they had what amounted to the best regular season in franchise history, especially considering that they played well over half of their games without their best player, Zach Randolph.
Second, they made it to the playoffs as the 4th overall seed, picking up their first ever homecourt series in the playoffs. Again, great accomplishment, but, dot-dot-dot: was this season a success? Well, after last year's run in the playoffs -- in which we came within one game of reaching the WCF -- it's hard to say that this season was anything but a disappointment. As a whole, of course. Regular season, yes, a fantastic job. Postseason, obviously a disappointment. Which makes this a difficult question, because the endgame is winning a championship, no? Or at the very least making improvements on the prior season.
The answer here is dependent on how you define success, how your preseason assessment of the team was to begin with. Even, consider where you thought this team would be midway through the season when we were worried about the team shooting, the Z-Bo injury, the lack of point guard depth, etc. That didn't have this cozy feel to it, did it? So then would a first-round exit, one which we did bring to seven games, be a disappointment?
Um, I guess you have to consider that we lost to a team that had no right even being on the court with the San Antonio Spurs. You know, a Spurs team many of us (foolishly?) thought we could at least give a seven-game challenge to in these playoffs. Does that factor into your assessment?
My point is, there are so many factors here to determine a success. My feelings prior to this season was that we were a title contending team, I felt that we had a legitimate shot of at least making a run in the playoffs, with the WCF well within our reach. In those defined terms, I can't quite say this season was successful. Really. As much success as we had, I wasn't necessarily fulfilled by a first-round ousting. Then again, I wouldn't say this team disappointed me, given how they fought through the season... Alright, now I'm even confusing myself.
Jump and let us know what you guys think...
Thoughts, SoV community? Success or no?