Let’s be real.
Any NBA head coaching job is attractive; there’s no such thing as a bad NBA coaching job. There are only 30 head coach spots to go around, which is quite small for a relatively large pool. The 150-200 assistant coaches in the league, the former NBA coaches, college basketball coaches, and even former players dream of taking one of those NBA head coaching jobs.
I’m saying that because there was this perceived notion that the Memphis Grizzlies’ head coaching job wasn’t an attractive job. After firing J.B. Bickerstaff, they’re moving to their 5th coach in 6 years, serving as a model for instability. With the whole exit interview fiasco with Bickerstaff and Wallace, many people screamed “dysfunctional.” Because of the frequency to fire coaches, an unpredictable owner, and a fresh front office, it was easy for people to say that the Grizzlies opening wasn’t a good one.
For the Grizzlies, their coaching job was already pretty attractive with newly minted 1st-Team All-Rookie Jaren Jackson Jr. as the franchise’s cornerstone. Now, with Ja Morant likely on the way, any candidate has to be chomping at the bit to grab a hold of Jackson and Morant to maximize their potential.
Both of these players have sky-high potential to be great, generating comparisons to players such as Kevin Garnett, Chris Bosh, Russell Westbrook, and Gary Payton. The idea of having even one player with the ceiling of a Hall-of-Famer — or a future one — is tantalizing. But two?? There’s something attractive about that.
As GBBer Nathan Chester alluded to, the Grizzlies are in a position where they can build something with these two guys that’s bigger than just making noise. It’s not even just because of Jaren Jackson Jr. or Ja Morant, but they also have a slew of veteran role players and potentially oodles of 2020 cap space.
Any perspective head coach should be salivating at this job, as it’s an opportunity to establish a culture that’s attractive to free agents and to the national media — ala, the Nets and Clippers — around two elite prospects with superstar upside.
As of right now, the Grizzlies are doing its due diligence and interviewing as many candidates as possible. This week, Nate Tibbetts and Adrian Griffin have surfaced as coaches the Grizzlies have interviewed for this position. In addition, they’ve been connected to Alex Jensen, Sarunas Jasikevicius, Jarron Collins, and Igor Kokoskov thus far.
The Grizzlies’ patience has paid off, and now they will have another franchise cornerstone to pair with Jaren Jackson Jr.
How can one say no to that?