Following up on his recent article about NBA coaches, Dave Berri was asked by 3 Shades of Blue to answer some questions about Lionel Hollins and the Memphis Grizzlies’ coaching situation. Here’s an excerpt:
3SOB: Hollins was an outspoken critic of the Rudy Gay trade and yet was the beneficiary of the team’s superior performance after the trade. Do you believe he did a great coaching job under difficult circumstances or did he just benefit from a more productive team despite his coaching?
DB: One wonders if Hollins is still opposed to the Gay trade. It was clear that the Grizzlies didn’t miss Gay’s production. His ability to launch shots at the basket is easy to replace in the NBA. So it is not surprising that losing Gay didn’t hurt. But people tend to fixate on scoring totals. Consequently it is hard for people to see that Gay isn’t as valuable as his scoring totals would suggest.
As for Hollins coaching…it will take some time to update our study. For now, let’s just do a simple exercise.
Imagine if we knew before the season started exactly who the Grizzlies would play this year and how many minutes each player would receive. Given what the players did last year, we could then see how many wins the Grizzlies could have expected to receive from each player. When we compare this to what we actually saw in 2012-13, we can see how player performance changed from 2011-12 to 2012-13.
Click through to the article to see Dave’s simple exercise (or “very naive projection”, as he calls it).