Thursday, December 2, 2004

A TWO-FOR-ONE: FRATELLO PLUS MUSSELMAN

A TWO-FOR-ONE: FRATELLO PLUS MUSSELMAN

Posted By on Thu, Dec 2, 2004 at 4:00 AM

Mike Fratello, who won the NBA’s Coach of the Year award in 1985 after leading the Atlanta Hawks to a 50-32 record, was announced as the new head coach of the Memphis Grizzlies at a press conference at FedExForum Thursday morning.

Joining Fratello on the new Grizzlies staff are Eric Musselman, who compiled a 38-44 record in his one season as a head coach, last year with the Golden State Warriors, and Mitchell Anderson, who served on Sidney Lowe’s coaching staff with the Grizzlies prior to the hiring of Hubie Brown.

Fratello compiled a 572-465 record in two prior head-coaching stints, with the Hawks during the ‘80s and with the Cleveland Cavaliers during the Nineties. Since then he’s made his name as a television color analyst dubbed “The Czar of the Telestrator.”

In what was a relatively uneventful press conference, Fratello dispelled questions about his slow-down coaching style in Cleveland, pointing out that he played up-tempo basketball in Atlanta when he had the personnel to thrive with that style but converted to a slow-down strategy in Cleveland in order to compete with less talent. Fratello refused to discuss specific players today, but did suggest he’d stick with the Grizzlies up-tempo philosophy. “We have people who can run here. Why wouldn’t I want to do that here?,” Fratello asked, citing the Grizzlies “two point guards who can push the ball.”

Fratello was introduced by a teary-eyed Jerry West who struck a somber tone, saying, “We want to get back to where we feel good about ourselves. Do we feel good about ourselves now? No.”

Fratello reminisced about his previous head-coaching jobs and his relationships with Brown, whom he was an assistant under and whom he’s known since his days as a high-school player in New Jersey, and TV partner Marv Albert. But he didn’t give many details about his plans for the Grizzlies, demurring until he can run a practice with the team.

Musselman was considered a candidate for the head-coaching job and joins the staff as Fratello’s top assistant. Fratello spoke of his working relationship with Musselman in connection to the Grizzlies job in terms of a partnership, implying that Musselman will play a considerable role in shaping this team. Anderson returns from the Grizzlies’ scouting staff, where he’d been reassigned after Brown’s hiring. Fratello will retain Lionel Hollins, who has served as the Grizzlies interim head coach over the past week, and John Welch from Brown’s staff. Tony Barone will bounce back to the front office as Director of Player Personnel, the position he held before Brown was hired. Other assistants Hal Wissel and Brendan Brown will be reassigned to the scouting department, according to the Grizzlies media relations department.

For more on Fratello and the Griz, see Chris Herrington's new Grizzlies blog. CLICK HERE. PLUS: TIME FOR A CHANGE
by John Hollinger:
A Sports Illustrated pundit offers diagnosis and prognosis for the slumping Grizzlies.

from Sports Illustrated Online

It's been a crazy week in Memphis, but don't take my word for it. I'll let somebody else describe the situation for you:

"Now, you're Jerry West. You've just lost your head coach, who won the Coach of the Year award the season before and energized your team, OK. You've gone from winning 50 games in this league to 5-9 in the Western Conference, where you are surrounded by playoff-quality teams, eh-heh-heh, eh-heh-heh, eh-heh, OK.

"Plus, your best player, Pau Gasol, is battling ankle problems, and your small forward James Posey, who gave you great energy, is out with a foot injury. OK, now, in spite of this, you also must recognize that you still have a roster that is deep and young and has tremendous upside, and with that, you still have the opportunity to win a lot of games in this league and get into the playoffs."

While Hubie Brown may not have said those exact words in his distinctive style, it would be an appropriate analysis of his former team.

For rest of article, CLICK HERE. (Or go to http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2004/writers/john_hollinger/11/30/grizzlies/index.html)

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