How the old-head Grizzlies learned a few new tricks
Wrote about Vince Carter and Zach Randolph. An excerpt:
Z-Bo had been a mainstay in the Memphis starting lineup for the entirety of the Grit N’ Grind Era, whether under Lionel Hollins or Dave Joerger (Joerger did briefly move him to the bench midway through last season, but the experiment lasted all of 30 days). After taking over the head-coaching job last July, Fizdale felt that in order to get the most out of his three star players — Randolph, Mike Conley, and Marc Gasol — he had to shake things up.
“It’s adapt or die in this league. That’s where it’s at,” he says. “I just knew that the only way I was gonna be able to maximize Mike Conley is if I opened up the floor. So, one, moving Z-Bo to the bench away from Marc for a stretch helped that. And then asking Marc to step away farther from the rim, knowing that he was already a great 20-foot shooter anyway, why not develop a player at his 30s to do something even better?”
Randolph was initially reticent about moving to the bench, but he says he got comfortable with it by the time the season started. Conversations with Carter during the off-season and training camp helped him get to that place.
“When it first happened, I conversated with [Carter] a lot about the transition because when he was my age — 35, in [Dallas] — that’s when a coach wanted him to come off the bench. So, we kind of were in the same situation. So I talked to him a lot,” Randolph says. “The negatives and the positives with the things he went through and the things I was going through and how to handle it. He helped me out a lot. He really did.”
Read the full story at VICE Sports.