It’s early August, the MLB is going, happening, occurring…I guess. Or as Hank Stram would say, matriculating down field, or the calendar. The NFL preseason has begun and College Football starts at the end of the month. Yet, the Grizzlies keep surfacing in sports news.
Through a series of additions and promotions, the front office and coaching staff are set moving forward. A press conference last week announced the following:
Jeff Bzdelik is now an assistant coach. He has 17 years of NBA coaching experience, including seven seasons under Pat Riley in both New York and Miami.
Trevor Moawad has been brought on as mental endurance coach. In a Chip Kelly like move, Robert Pera is tapping into a relatively untouched area of the game…Dieting aside, because let’s be honest, Tony Allen needs his Waffle House.
You mean you don’t get your best thinking done around 5 in the morning at the nearest Waffle House? The shower? What?
Pera pointed specifically towards Moawad’s ability to help players through shooting slumps and during tough travel schedules. Moawad was most recently with the Florida State and Alabama football programs, winners of the last three national titles.
John Townsend has been named director of player development. He was previously with the Raptors and Trail Blazers as shooting coach, and will focus on shooting with the Grizzlies as well.
Chris Wallace’s interim tag has been removed as he re-assumes his role as General Manager. Wallace is clearly a fan favorite, both in media relations and organization operations. He is responsible for bringing Tony Allen to Memphis among other things…like assembling the team as we know it. This was a big step towards fans placing more trust with the owner. Had Pera screwed that one up, there would have been a shit storm of complaints.
Ed Stefanski has become the Executive Vice President of Player Personnel. What the hell does that mean? Anything from scouting players at the college, d-league, and international levels, to scouting other teams and players for potential trades. Stefanski played under Dream Team coach Chuck Daly in college and has worked with the Nets and 76ers. He will be based out of Philadelphia, giving the front office a deployable on the east coast. While this may sound odd, it can be advantageous for reaching certain college games (specifically ACC competition).
Realistic words from Robert Pera:
“You look at a place like Memphis, we’re not going to be able to build a championship team by going into free agency and getting super stars…we’re going to have to find pieces, we’re going have to become the best team or one of the best teams in the NBA at player development and developing the pieces.”
It seems long ago that rumors of Mike Miller assuming the Jackie Moon role of player / coach floated around. Or Dave Joerger acting as a meat puppet with a headset and taking orders from the man upstairs. Robert Pera has slowly but surely gained confidence from the fan base, both through personnel and staff moves, and becoming more transparent. His most recent press conference was one of very few public appearances made in Memphis. You must admit, the Twitter Q&A session was absurd, but pretty cool. Granted, it allowed him to pick and choose which questions to answer, and in at most 140 characters, but it’s still a step in the right direction.