The Memphis Grizzlies are an American professional basketball team based in Memphis, Tenessee. The Grizzlies are a member of the Southwest Division of the Western Conference in the National Basketball Association (NBA). Their head coach is David Joerger.
Along with the Toronto Raptors, the Grizzlies were established in 1995 as part of the NBA's expansion into Canada. The team originated that year in Vancouver, British Columbia and relocated to Memphis in 2001. The team's majority owner is Michael Heisley, who controls a 95% share of the franchise; the remaining 5% is controlled by several local owners, including AutoZone founder J. R. ("Pitt") Hyde, his wife Barbara Hyde, equity manager Staley Cates, and former NBA player and University of Memphis point guard Elliot Perry.
While two other teams (Tennessee Titans and Nashville Predators) in the four major North American sports leagues (NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL) play in Tennessee, the Grizzlies are the only team to currently play in Memphis.
2001–2008: Memphis and the Pau Gasol era
The Grizzlies and Charlotte Hornets both applied with the NBA to relocate to Memphis, Tennessee on the same day, March 26, 2001. The Grizzlies' request was granted by the NBA. Memphis became the furthest city to the East among other cities of the Western teams. By the time the Grizzlies relocated, Memphis-based company FedEx hoped the team would change its name to the Memphis Express. The NBA quickly quashed that idea, ruling that they would not allow teams to be named for corporations. Although the Hornets failed in their quest to move to Memphis, they relocated from Charlotte to New Orleans before the start of the 2002-03 NBA season. Although not related, Memphis also had a professional football team of the same name in the WFL that folded with the league in 1975.
In the 2001 NBA Draft, the Atlanta Hawks drafted Pau Gasol as the 3rd overall pick, who was traded to the Grizzlies. After the Grizzlies' first season in Memphis, Gasol won the NBA Rookie of the Year Award. The Grizzlies also drafted Shane Battier, who quickly became an unofficial spokesman for the team and a fan favorite. However, despite the strong draft class, general manager Billy Knight was let go. After Billy Knight's departure and the 2001–02 season, the team hired former Los Angeles Laker and Hall of Famer Jerry West as general manager in 2002, who later received the 2003-04 NBA Executive of the Year Award. After West's arrival the team was changed a great deal from Knight's team, with the removal of Sidney Lowe as head coach after a dismal 0–8 start to the season and a great deal of player movement, with players such as Mike Miller and James Posey becoming vital to the team's success. During the 2002–03 NBA season season, Hubie Brown was hired to coach the Grizzlies. Brown won the NBA Coach of the Year Award during the next season when the Grizzlies made the NBA playoffs for the first time in team history in the spring of 2004 as the sixth seed in the Western Conference in a drastic change from being perennially one of the worst teams in the NBA.
However, Hubie Brown stepped down as head coach during the 2004–05 NBA season season. At the time of his resignation, the Grizzlies had a losing record but West was able to hire TNT analyst and former coach Mike Fratello to replace Brown. The Grizzlies' record markedly improved and the team advanced to the postseason for the second consecutive season. However, upon reaching the playoffs, the Grizzlies were once again swept out in the first round, this time by the Phoenix Suns. After this season, which ended tumultuously with anger between Fratello and many of the players, namely Bonzi Wells and Jason Williams, the team had an active 2005 offseason in which they revamped the team and added veteran talent. While the Grizzlies lost Bonzi Wells, Jason Williams, Stromile Swift, and James Posey, they acquired Damon Stoudamire, Bobby Jackson, Hakim Warrick, and Eddie Jones. They made the playoffs for the third consecutive year as well.
With their record they owned the fifth playoff seed in the Western Conference and would have to face the Dallas Mavericks, who swept the Grizzlies in 4 games. Following the 2006 NBA Draft, Jerry West traded Shane Battier to the Houston Rockets for their first round pick Rudy Gay of the University of Connecticut and Stromile Swift. Before the 2006–07 NBA season, the Grizzlies suffered a crippling blow when Pau Gasol broke his left foot while playing for the Spain national basketball team in the World Championships. The Grizzlies started the season 5–17 without Gasol, and then went 1–7 while he was limited to about 25 minutes per game. At that point, Fratello was fired and replaced by Tony Barone, Sr. as interim coach. Barone was the team's player personnel director and had never coached an NBA game though he had coached at the collegiate level for both Creighton and Texas A&M University being named coach of the year in their conferences three times during his tenure. Grizzlies finished the 2006–07 season with the league's worst 22–60 record, and Jerry West announced resignation from his position as the team's general manager shortly after end of the regular season. The team also hired highly touted Phoenix Suns assistant Marc Iavaroni to be the team's new head coach. Despite their last place finish, the Grizzlies, who held the best chance of landing the first pick in a draft, ended up with the fourth pick in the 2007 NBA Draft. With this pick, the Grizzlies selected Mike Conley, Jr., a guard from Ohio State.
On June 18, 2007, the Grizzlies named former Boston Celtics GM Chris Wallace as the team's General Manager and Vice President of Basketball Operations, replacing the retired West. A few days later, the Grizzlies hired former Philadelphia 76ers and Orlando Magic head coach Johnny Davis, longtime NBA assistant coach Gordon Chiesa, and the head coach of the 2007 NBA Development League champion Dakota Wizards, David Joerger, as the team's new assistant coaches. Gene Bartow, a Memphis basketball legend, was named the Grizzlies' President of Basketball Operations on August 16, 2007. On February 1, 2008, Gasol was traded to the Los Angeles Lakers for Kwame Brown, Javaris Crittenton, Aaron McKie, rights to Marc Gasol (Pau's younger brother), and 2008 and 2010 first round draft picks.
2008-present: Post-Gasol era/ Rudy Gay and Zach Randolph duo
On January 22, 2009, head coach Marc Iavaroni was fired and replaced on an interim basis by assistant coach Johnny Davis. To replace Iavaroni, Lionel Hollins was named the Grizzlies' head coach on January 25, 2009.
On June 25, 2009, with the 2nd Overall pick in the NBA Draft, Memphis selected Tanzanian Center Hasheem Thabeet from the University of Connecticut, then selected DeMarre Carroll from the University of Missouri with the 27th overall pick.
On September 9, 2009, the Grizzlies Signed free agent Allen Iverson to a single year, $3.5 million deal. Iverson had been the subject of some controversy due to the nature of his previous season with the Detroit Pistons, though he stated that he was excited about helping the team, and believed "God chose Memphis as the place that I will continue my career." However, he only played in three games (none of them in Memphis) before leaving for "personal problems." He was then waived by the Grizzlies.
Following Iverson's departure, the Grizzlies gradually improved. With new acquisition Zach Randolph playing at an all-star level, Marc Gasol's improvement and a commitment to defense, the Grizzlies were in playoff contention for much of the season, before finishing 10th in the West with a 40-42 record.
While in the playoff hunt in February 2011, the Grizzlies traded center Hasheem Thabeet, forward DeMarre Carroll, and a protected future first-round pick to the Houston Rockets for forward Shane Battier and guard Ishmael Smith. The Grizz also signed former Memphis Tigers standout Rodney Carney to a 10-day contract.
The Grizzlies then finally clinched their first playoff slot in 5 years with a 101-96 home victory over the Sacramento Kings on April 8, 2011.
- General Motors Place (1995–2001)
Franchise and NBA records
Career statistical leaders
- Games–Rudy Gay (479)
- Minutes Played–Pau Gasol (16,727)
- Field Goals Made–Pau Gasol (3,286)
- Field Goals Attempted–Pau Gasol (6,459)
- 3-Point Field Goals Made–Mike Miller (737)
- 3-Point Field Goals Attempted–Mike Miller (1,778)
- Free Throws Made–Pau Gasol (2,284)
- Free Throws Attempted–Pau Gasol (3,130)
- Offensive Rebounds–Pau Gasol (1,187)
- Defensive Rebounds–Pau Gasol (2,864)
- Total Rebounds–Pau Gasol (4,051)
- Assists–Mike Conley (2,085)
- Steals–Rudy Gay (535)
- Blocked Shots–Pau Gasol (868)
- Turnovers–Pau Gasol (1,224)
- Personal Fouls–Bryant Reeves (1,365)
- Points–Pau Gasol (8,872)
Per game statistical leaders
- Minutes Played–O.J. Mayo (38.0)
- Field Goals Made–Shareef Abdur-Rahim (7.43)
- Field Goals Attempted–Shareef Abdur-Rahim (16.03)
- 3-Point Field Goals Made–Mike Miller (2.0)
- 3-Point Field Goals Attempted–Jason Williams (5.38)
- Free Throws Made–Shareef Abdur-Rahim (5.73)
- Free Throws Attempted–Shareef Abdur-Rahim (7.15)
- Offensive Rebounds–Shareef Abdur-Rahim (2.53)
- Defensive Rebounds–Pau Gasol (7.3)
- Total Rebounds–Pau Gasol (9.8)
- Assists–Mike Bibby (7.83)
- Steals–Greg Anthony (1.83)
- Blocked Shots–Pau Gasol (2.1)
- Turnovers–Shareef Abdur-Rahim (3.06)
- Personal Fouls–Bryant Reeves (3.46)
- Points–Shareef Abdur-Rahim (23.8)
- Pau Gasol–2002
- Hubie Brown–2004
- Jerry West–2004
- Mike Miller–2006
Television and radio
The Grizzles appear on television on the cable channel SportSouth, owned and operated by Fox Sports Net as a sister station to Fox Sports Tennessee. The TV crew is Pete Pranica on commentary, Brevin Knight or Sean Tuohy on color analysis, and Rob Fischer on sideline reporting.
- Stu Jackson – 1994–2000
- Billy Knight – 2000–2002
- Dick Versace – 2002–2005
- Jerry West – 2005–2007
- Chris Wallace – 2007–present
- ↑ David Williams, Grizzlies partners truly in minority, The Commercial Appeal, March 27, 2008
- ↑ "NBA rejects Memphis Express moniker". cbc.ca. 2001-05-22. http://www.cbc.ca/sports/story/2001/05/22/memphis010522.html. Retrieved 2007-11-22.
- ↑ Yahoo! Sports - Sports News, Scores, Rumors, Fantasy Games, and more
- ↑ . http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2006/basketball/nba/12/28/bc.bkn.grizzlies.fratello.ap/index.html. Template:Dead link
- ↑ Springer, Shira (2007-06-19). "GM Wallace joins Grizzlies". The Boston Globe. http://www.boston.com/sports/basketball/celtics/articles/2007/06/19/gm_wallace_joins_grizzlies/. Retrieved 2007-11-22.
- ↑ "Grizzlies name Gene Bartow President of Hoops LP". NBA.com. 2007-08-16. http://www.nba.com/grizzlies/news/bartow_named_president_hoops_lp-070816.html. Retrieved 2007-11-22.
- ↑ ESPN - In dire need of frontcourt help, Lakers acquire Gasol from Grizzlies - NBA
- ↑ "Gasol dealt to Lakers in blockbuster trade". http://www.nba.com/lakers/news/080201gasol_trade.html. Retrieved 2008-02-01.
- ↑ "Grizzlies introduce Lionel Hollins as new coach". http://www.commercialappeal.com/news/2009/jan/25/grizzlies-introduce-hollins-new-coach/.
- ↑ Grizzlies Officially Waive Iverson, "Grizzlies officially waive Iverson", Yahoo! News, November 17, 2009.
- ↑ "HoopsHype", Memphis Grizzlies Salaries, accessed March 1, 2011.
- ↑ [http://sports.yahoo.com/nba/recap?gid=2011040829 "Randolph, Conley lead Grizzlies past Kings 101-96", accessed April 9, 2011.