Tigers fans let's not get too excited. Let's keep an even keel and not nominate Pastner for the Coaches Hall of Fame just yet. Expect another clunker or inexplicable loss or two down the road.
Shaq played great but I'm still concerned about his rebounding, as I am with the entire team. As Pat Riley famously said "No rebounds, no rings".
My take on the Tigers is they will go only as far as Joe Jackson takes them. The young man is a tremendous player, one of the best to suit up for the Tigers, but he's still not being fully utilized. Because Pastner is so eager to prove he can coach at this level I think he's foolishly restraining Joe. When you have an experienced player as skilled as Jackson you need to trust him by putting the ball in his hands as much as possible. Let him decide who gets the ball, when, and where, instead of allowing so many different players to initiate or run the offense. The players should look for Joe anyime they get the ball off the backboard and he's in the game. The guy's so fast no one can stay in front of him and such a great free throw shooter that you have to make sure the ball's in his hands as much as possible, especially during crunch time.
Many college coaches are guilty of this: Holding great players back to get more credit for the success of the team. Remember, MJ was merely good, not great, under Dean Smith and his controlling of the game. By the same token there have been a slew of great NBA players who didn't distinguish themselves as great while in college. It's great players that will lead you to championships. You have to unleash them and let them play to their full potential.
Someone let me know when it's okay to hold Fuentes to the same standard we held Larry Porter to. The Tigers over the last two years have been no better than under Porter's tenure, and arguably worse. Where's the improvement? Looks like the same bunch of underachievers that have littered the program for the last decade or so.
Just asking because as soon as it's permissible to hold Fuentes responsible for the pitiful Tigers' showing this year I want to start with his boneheaded, idiotic decision to start Lynch over Kareem. That was lunacy. You don't replace an experienced quarterback who was playing well at the end of the season, and on a winning streak, for an untested freshman. Not unless he's a Jameis Winston or a Cam Newton, or some other phenom. Let the young man back up Kareem and learn how to play the position at the college level, and put him in if the starting quarterback struggles.
This boneheaded decision, in my opinion, was the death knell for the team this year, and Fuentes was just too stubborn to admit his mistake. When you have a team with few good players at the skill positions you just can't go with a freshman quarterback. Duh!!
As a former restaurant manager for over twenty years I fully support these workers to earn a living wage. I feel that any job that an employer feels is worth doing is worth paying a decent wage to do. If paying workers a decent wage puts you out of business then you don't deserve to be in business in the first place.
During my more than twenty years in the industry I saw firsthand the effects of denying my employees the benefit of decent wages and benefits. Although many of the restaurants I managed offered employees half-priced meals, many still couldn't afford to eat while at work and went hungry. One young single mother who worked for me could never afford to buy a half-price meal. She said she only ate once a day because she had two young children who needed to be fed. I used to give her a free meal and was thoroughly dismayed when she went to the back of the store and woofed down the meal in the span of a couple of minutes. That left a lasting impression on me. And while the impression of lowly paid restaurant workers is of uneducated minority, this young lady was white, as were many of my employees. Poverty and lack of opportunity cuts across all racial and gender lines.
Company practices such as denying employees full-time hours, fluctuating schedules, sending employees home before their shifts were up at the first slowing of business, making them work off the clock, not letting them clock in until business picked up, etc., are abhorrent and uncaring, in my opinion. I often butted heads with upper management because of my advocacy for my employees, and eventually this was the reason I left the business.
I always tried to give employees steady hours, raises when deserved them, and free meals, and I still maintained the profit margins upper management expected religiously. I constantly showed them that by treating low wage workers fairly, appreciating and rewarding hard work and loyalty, taking a real interest in their lives and aspirations, employees worked harder, were more productive, and stole and wasted less food and supplies. Too bad I was never able to establish this type of business model in an industry concerned only about profits, not people.
Someone tell me how a team that returns all five starters, its top two reserves, Poindexter and Bayless, its two "up and coming" young players, Davis and Leuer, adds one of the top backup centers in the league, one of the best three-point shooters, a supposedly capable back up point guard, and not be a better team than the year before?
It's all about coaching Gentlemen. If any of you remember me I was the one lambasting the Grizzlies for getting rid of Hollins. I went back and forth with the Hollins haters for weeks and finally decided to take a wait-and-see attitude. I wanted to root against the Griz but can't. I've been a true fan much too long. I still want them to do well but I'm worried. This is Pera's and Levein's team and they can do what they want. They did and now they will have to live with their boneheaded decision.
Anyone watching this team know they are not the same. The toughness that Lionel instilled in them is gone. The defense so many Lionel haters wanted to lay at the feet of Joeger isn't the same. If you want to see a real mess just let the Grizzlies continue to lose and we'll see just how lovable TA, Zach, and Marc really are. This team has some of the strongest personalities on one team in the NBA. Lionel controlled them through that age-old motivator known as fear... fear of riding the pine. If Joeger doesn't get tough he'll be eaten alive.
Get rid of a winning coach who knows what it takes to win at a high level for an untested, young coach who never coached a NBA game. Quite a gamble. Good luck with that!
Obviously those wanting to defend the Hollins dismissal want to have the last word. Having been an off and on resident of Memphis for more than 40 years I've found this to be the case in all things racial in this city. Those wanting to keep their heads in the sand and deny there is now, or have ever been, a racial problem in the city seems to think just talking over people, completely ignoring any relevant points they make, or completely ignoring those who feel differently is the way to address the issue.
Coach Hollins was too good a coach and human being to allow those feeling like he should have bowed down like a peon to his new bosses in order to keep a job he clearly deserved, to have the last word. Some would like to convey the feeling that they were insiders on what went on with the situation, but I doubt any of us posting here really know what went on. The management kept their cards close to the vest and according to Lionel himself led him to believe he'd be back at the helm. The pretense that they were looking for other candidates other than Joeger was also disingenuous and was sniffed out by many in the media. It was obvious to many that the front office had basically made the decision before the season ended to find an excuse to part with Lionel and promote his Assistant Joeger. They made a calculated gamble that they could get as much from the coaching position for less, just as I predict they'll be doing in the future with the players. Yes, the prickly personality of Hollins played a part in his dismissal, but it wasn't the main reason.
I have seen comments by some of Joeger's supporters that he shouldn't be expected to take the team as far as Hollins did, and I say really. Isn't the reason you get rid of a coach is because you believe the team will do better under the new man. Already some are looking for excuses for Joeger, just in case the team slips this upcoming season, which I expect them to do.
There are many strong personalities on any team. Some Superstar players have been able to pick and choose their coaches or get one fired they didn't agree with. All players want more playing time. It takes a strong personality to control these types of players and get them to buy into a system of team first. Old school coaches like Popovich, Karl, and Hollins could do this. It remains to be seen if these new school, young coaches can do the same. As they say, the proof is in the pudding. So we'll see.
If some continue to seek the last word on Memphis' racial problems I'll let them have it. But despite the protestations, for once and for ever........... MEMPHIS... WE HAVE A RACIAL PROBLEM!
I really appreciate the intelligent and reasoned responses to my assertion that many African-American players both in professional and collegiate athletics don't want to play in Memphis because of its deplorable racial history. I would like to address some of the posters directly but I can't figure out how to respond to a comment on this thread, so I'll just do another post.
I'm not going to go into my reasons again for this belief, but I'd like to address the reply of Iggy directly. You apparently are determined to not address the gist of my argument that any non-white person would consider the racial history of any city before agreeing to play there. I never said this would be the main consideration, but you'd have to be a non-black person to think it wouldn't play a part. While most of the young people today didn't grow up during the Civil Rights struggle,many of their parents did, and would, of course, be concerned with letting their 18 or 19 year old son live and play in a city with the racial history of Memphis. Remember, Memphis is burnished in the minds of many African-Americans because it's the place where Martin Luther King Jr. was murdered. This, and the many Confederate symbols downtown sends a message that the racial animosities of the Old Confederacy aren't yet resolved. Protests from the Klan like we had a few months ago certainly don't help our image.
As far as Iggy's claim that the black players I named could have played anywhere but chose the U of M, we certainly know that's not true. What big-time athlete not from Memphis would chose the U of M over Duke, N. Carolina, UCLA, Kansas, or some of the other well-known school if they had a choice between the two?
I've lived outside Memphis and everywhere I go I find myself defending the city from people who think it's nothing more than a backwater, southern town. There's an image of the city shared nation wide, and its not flattering.
Yes, professional athletes would play in hell if the money is good enough, but given a choice, a right free agents have, they'd rather play somewhere they'd feel welcome, and would be treated respectfully. The way Hollins was treated only added to the feeling that Memphis isn't a good place for Blacks, successful or not. You don't dismiss a coach who've led you to three of the best years in the franchise history for his assistant. While I'll agree Lionel wasn't the most engaging or friendliest of people, it's incumbent on the new management to find a way to work with a coach who meant so much to many in the community. When outside reporters were here during the playoffs one of the things they expressed surprise at was how diverse our crowds were, unlike most NBA cities where the great majority of the crowds are white. Lionel meant a lot to us. To not take that into consideration, in addition to coach Hollin's unprecedented success, to me, was a major mistake. Perhaps some compromise could have been made on both sides,and I'm sure if Lionel had any inkling he'd lose his job over his disagreements with management he'd be willing to make some changes. Lastly, I don't think any of the players Iggy named have enough cache to demand a coach be let go. If the Grizzlies thought any of those guys were great coaches I'm sure they'd hire them on the cheap too.
For once I'd like to make a point about race without Whites explaining to me what I don't know about race, or how people of my own race feel about racial matters. Denial of a person's heartfelt feelings only makes it impossible to communicate effectively.
Again, I appreciate the civil debate. Whenever I express similar feelings on the CA comment site I only get bombarded with personal attacks. I don't know if Chris Herrington, whose basketball knowledge I respect, reads his own comment section, but I'd love for him to have the courage to address this issue here or when he's on his buddy, Chris Vernon's radio show. Especially since Lionel named both as people advocating for his dismissal. This is an issue that deserves debate. There's a lot of anger in the African-American community regarding the Hollins' situation. Tell me, when have you ever heard of fans holding a rally for a coach to retain his job? Never.
Though a few Grizzly fans on this board took exception to my quoting Hollin's "Champagne taste on a beer budget" analysis of the new Grizzly management, and using it to flagellate the ex- coach, I stand by my assertion. The Grizz's inaction during free agency so far continues to validate my concern that the team is going cheap for the forseeable future. Ex: Is there a starting guard, or even one coming off the bench in the NBA making less that our lovable, and invaluable Grind Father, Tony Allen? It seems even mascots around the league are earning more than TA. This does not bode well for our resigning of Marc or Conley when their contracts are up. Unless they'll be willing to give us a hometown discount, which few players are willing to do.
As I've said before, Memphians, especially white Memphians, live in a bubble of denial and delusions of grandeur. Few big time players want to play here unless we badly over pay them (see Rudy, Zach, etc.) because of our ugly racial history. I get attacked every time I say this, regardless of the forum, but that's not going to stop me from telling the truth. I've lived in this city off and on for over 40 years and it pains me to see how little racial progress we've made here over the decades. You can't even have a honest conversation about it in this town. I rarely call in to talk radio, but the only time I ever did I was hung up on and lambasted on the air for expressing this opinion. Ridiculous and cowardly. You don't progress and become better as a person or city if you
are unwilling to even talk about certain issues.
It doesn't matter if it's in professional or college sports, African-American athletes don't want to come here! Period! Look at our beloved U of M. The good black players we get here like D-Rose, Tyreke, DuJuan Wagner, Sean Banks, Gerron Johnson, the Iverson kid, etc, either have academic or conduct problems, and are unwanted by most big name programs. Seems we sign players from outside Memphis and sweat out whether they'll be eligible to play or not.
I'm not trying to down my city, only make it better. I've been a Grizzly fan from day one and even lobbied to bring them here when many of the recent and fair weather "fans" were against it.
I would appreciate any intelligent and thoughtful response to these assertions.
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By Joe Boone
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