SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS ---The Memphis Grizzlies are 0-8 and in conversations last week with several NBA writers, I had made mention that if the team doesn’t get it’s act together, they are going to cost a good man his job. SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS ---The Memphis Grizzlies are 0-8 and in conversations last week with several NBA writers, I had made mention that if the team doesn’t get it’s act together, they are going to cost a good man his job. Well at the beginning of the season Jerry West took over for a good man at the General Manager position and now Sidney Lowe has decided to resign as head coach just eight games into the season.
On last Friday night I watched the Grizzlies lose to the Sacramento Kings. A few nights before that, they had lost a tough overtime game to the San Antonio Spurs, 104-103. The team’s performance isn’t that they didn’t care. The Grizzlies have heart. What they don’t have is a defense that can stop a team who can score more points than they can.
“This is a game that we expected to win and we went out and played terribly,” Grizzlies' center Lorenzen Wright said. “I don’t know what to say.”
Wright is referring to the game they lost to Golden State. That was their eighth loss and it just wasn’t sitting well with anyone. Evidently Lowe had seen enough and decided to put the blame on him.
“It was tough,” Lowe told the Commercial Appeal. “I like Jerry a lot. He’s someone I’ll keep in touch with. I don’t have any ill feelings and I hope they don’t have any towards me.”
Lowe was a third year head coach who was known as a player of toughness. He tried to put his work ethic into a team that was uninspired to play offense or defense. When the team moved to Memphis, Lowe was just as ecstatic as a fan when the management group hired Jerry West. And like everyone else in Memphis, Lowe was hoping that his team would get a desire of having an NBA Hall of Famer as the boss. But the 0-8 start was too much for him to handle.
“There are several reasons,” Lowe told the Memphis Commercial Appeal via telephone Tuesday. “I just felt it was best for the franchise and for me that I move on. It was just too much.”
Even though West has hired Hubie Brown, that doesn’t mean that this team is going to be able to rebound from such a horrific start. Understand that Brown may be the best-qualified person for this job right now because he has been a TV analyst and he knows the players. That’s not saying the Lowe didn’t know his players. He knew them all too well and that is why he resigned from the position. Lowe knew that Jason Williams, despite the talent that lies underneath, is fundamentally unsound and that isn’t going to cut it in the NBA. Lowe understands that if this team needed to at least be at .500 for him to have stayed on as it’s head coach. So when the team was already 0-5, the writing was on the wall.
Even watching this team from a distance was painful. While talking to ESPN Magazine’s Ric Buecher last week about the situation, he expressed his concern as well.
“Sidney’s days are numbered and it’s not his fault,” Buecher said. “Nobody can save this team this year; not even Jerry West. Whoever replaces Lowe will have their hands full with a team that is talented but has a work ethic that is nearly non-existent.”
Lowe’s departure is indeed a blow to many African Americans who wanted him to succeed but the writing was on the wall. This team wasn’t going to play hard. It wasn’t because Lowe wasn’t a good coach. It was because the team, as a whole, thought of itself as losers. Even the best motivator out there can’t overcome that factor in a short time frame. Maybe Brown can do something that Lowe couldn’t but it’s doubtful. In any case Lowe will be okay and he’ll be back. I hear that new job in Charlotte may be opening soon!!