May 11, 2010, 12:19 PM EDT
Before last season started, the Memphis Grizzlies were expected to be a laughing stock. The team had talent — O.J. Mayo, Rudy Gay, and Zach Randolph could score. But they weren’t going to share the ball or play defense. Or be any good.
Oh, yes they were.
Coach Lionel Hollins gets some credit for that. And that is why the Grizzlies have extended Hollins contract, something first reported by Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo.
Hollins had to guide the team through the Allen Iverson distraction to start the season, then after that help the team find its identity. They did. Marc Gasol emerged as a real threat at center, Randolph had his best season showing new facets to his game, and the Grizzlies shared the ball.
The end result was a decent team on both sides o both ends of the court that finished near .500 (40-42). Which was a major accomplishment.
Hollins earned the extension. It will be interesting to see how much the Grizzlies grow next season.