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Do's and Don'ts for Memphis Grizzlies head coach Dave Joerger

Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

Despite a slow start and a truckload of injuries, Dave Joerger managed to steer the helm of the SS Grizzly and reach 50 wins. Yet, the season ended in disappointment for many Memphians with an early exit from the playoffs. With the loaded roster of this year and one year of coaching under his belt, Joerger has perhaps just as much, if not more, pressure going into this season. Can Dave handle it? Yes, he can. But he can’t make some of the mistakes he did in his rookie year. Otherwise, we might get another early exit from the playoffs (that is assuming we make them). The Grizzlies can be a top 5 team this year, but there’s some things that Joerger needs to improve, do, or change if he wants to have much success. Here’s my do’s and don’ts for Dave Joerger:

Do…

Handle the jam at the wing position. Here are the current wings on the Grizzlies’ roster:Quincy PondexterVince CarterTayshaun Prince, and some might include Tony Allen in the mix. Last year, James Johnson was on the team and Quincy Pondexter was out for most of the season. So, the "problem" is slightly different this year, but the solution remains the same. With his limited time, Quincy Pondexter didn’t have too great of a season last year in the amount of games he played as he averaged 6.3 points on 39.2% shooting (His 3P% was 32.4%). But we can’t forget his 2012-13 run and his show during the Western Conference Finals. I’m definitely not ready to give up on Q-Pon yet. In the back of our minds, however, we all remember the incident Joerger and Pondexter had last year right before his foot injury. It appears all has been mended. At least, we hope. But Joerger has to manage these wing minutes well, assuming that the roster consists of these same guys on opening day. This leads me to my first don’t for Dave.

Don’t…

Give large minutes to Tayshaun Prince at the wing/SF position. Dave Joerger trusted Tayshaun too often with large chunks of valuable minutes last season; he can’t afford to make that mistake again this year. Though Tayshaun is a veteran, his offensive skills are too terrible to ignore. (He averaged 6 points on 40.7% shooting. He was 56.7% on his free throws.) He does have defensive capabilities and can be a leader on the sidelines, but Tayshaun’s glory days are behind him, and Joerger needs to properly utilize his loaded roster.

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via img.bleacherreport.net

Do…

Continue to have trust with the front office. If things had turned out differently a few months ago, I might not be writing this article right now. Dave Joerger was within hand’s reach of trucking it out of Memphis to avoid a disrupted front office and landing in the chilly parts of Minnesota. In retrospect, Dave (I imagine) is beyond glad he isn’t coaching that Love-less team. Either way, all the signs had seemed to be pointed to him leaving. Then, a miracle happened. Joerger and Robert Pera talked things out and walked out hand in hand! Suddenly, everything was fixed. Joerger got an extension. Stability was restored. So, following these events, there will be a test of this newfound "bro-mance." Rumors had swirled about early last season that Pera had wanted to fire the new coach. If such a rumor arises this season, we might all be questioning the stability of this front office. Joerger needs to remain on Pera’s good side, and vise versa, for the good of the fan base and the team.

Don’t…

Overplay the Grizzlies’ stars. These guys include Tony Allen, Marc GasolMike Conley, and Zach Randolph (I’ll even add the veteran Vince Carter to this group). Come playoff time, we can’t have these guys beat up and run into the ground. The grit and grind style these guys play can take a toll on their bodies. For instance, Marc Gasol didn’t have a great seven games this past postseason. Some of this seems to be due to his nagging knee injury. As a result, he shot 40.5% from the field. His defensive rating was 107 during those playoff games compared to 102 on the 2013-2014 season. He averaged 33.4 minutes per game during the regular season and a whopping 42.7 during the playoffs. Similarly, Mike Conley averaged 33.5 minutes prior to the playoffs and 38.1 during them. In simple terms, Joerger can’t risk tearing down these guys’ bodies during the season; this puts them at greater risk of injury. The new rookie, Jarnell Stokes, will hopefully provide a respite for the aging Zach Randolph. With such a loaded roster, I imagine this second year coach will be able to distribute the minutes more "fairly" in a way that will preserve the starters for the ultimate goal: a championship.

Do…

Step into a more authoritative leadership role. Last season, there were still sparks of that friendly assistant coach. Though he doesn’t have to be a "drill sergeant" coach like Lionel Hollins, Joerger still needs to work on that transition from assistant coach to head coach. All I’m saying is I’d like to see him with a little more confidence; swagger, if you will. Sometimes, guys need someone to speak up. When Hollins coached, I noticed something that I wish Joerger would do a little more. The Grizzlies would sometimes have a terrible first half, but they would come out of the locker room like a new crew. They would get themselves back in the game. And I have a feeling Hollins had something to do with that. Some players need someone to get into their grill to get the message across. Oftentimes, it’s effective. Other times, it’s not. But a balance is definitely preferable. So I expect Joerger to step more into that kind of role while creating a unique identity for himself.

There you have it. My do’s and don’ts for Dave Joerger. Take them how you will. But I’m anticipating a great year for the Grizzlies especially if Joerger takes some of these suggestions to heart.

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via sports.cbsimg.net