Hollins was interviewed by the Lakers on May 29 and reportedly felt confident after it concluded.
Hollins served two brief stints with the Grizzlies franchise as an interim coach back in the 1999-2000 season as well as 2004 when he coached just four games. Hollins was brought back to the team for a third time in 2009, coaching the final 39 games of the regular season while shedding the “interim” label. Once he took over the team in 2009 and was given some job stability, the Memphis Grizzlies saw an increase in win percentage each season until management decided not to renew his contract at the end of the 2012-2013 season.
When Hollins was officially named the head coach of the Memphis Grizzlies in 2009, the team needed to be developed. Marc Gasol and O.J. Mayo were in their rookie years while Rudy Gay and Mike Conley, among others, had less than three NBA seasons under their belts. Conley is now one of the most underrated players in the league where the point guard position is loaded with exceptional talent. Marc Gasol has developed into a premier big man in the NBA.
Although the acquisition of Zach Randolph in 2009 helped speed up the process, Hollins was still responsible for integrating an important piece to the team. After trading for Randolph, Hollins adjusted the team’s playing style to his personnel. Each season, the Grizzlies’ pace continued to decline while their defensive efficiency improved each year, climbing all the way to second-best in the league during his final year coaching the team.
With Hollins at the helm, Memphis earned its first playoff game and series win in franchise history in 2011 when they upset the top-seeded San Antonio Spurs as an eighth seed in the first round. Two years later, they reached the Western Conference Finals for the first time before the Spurs exacted their revenge in a series sweep.
The Grizzlies went from a rebuilding project to one series victory away from a trip to the NBA Finals in a matter of four years. Simply put, the man knows how to develop talent.
Hollins was notorious during his time in Memphis for getting the absolute most out of his big men, along with preaching defense — which brings us to the Lakers.
Sitting with the seventh pick in the 2014 NBA Draft, Los Angeles is projected to end up with either Noah Vonleh, Marcus Smart, Julius Randle or Aaron Gordon. Vonleh and Randle are strictly power forwards while Gordon and Smart tremendous on the defensive end. Gordon is also a power forward, but his versatility may allow him to play multiple positions in the NBA. Either way, Hollins would be getting an excellent defender or a big man loaded with potential to work with. In fact, Randle has drawn a popular comparison to Randolph, making the player-coach pairing look very intriguing.
With guidance from Hollins, along with Kobe Bryant and even Steve Nash, whoever the Lakers select in the draft could develop fantastically. Laker fans would witness much more development and production out of the team’s first round draft pick if they hire Hollins, as opposed to the other candidates that have been linked to the head coaching position.
Lakers Likely Draft Candidates