Marc Stein of ESPN.com points to comments that Dave Joerger made recently as “thinly veiled shots” at Joe Abadi (Twitter links), the liaison between owner Robert Pera and GM Chris Wallace, but Chris Herrington of The Commercial Appeal interprets Joerger’s criticism as somewhat more subtle. The Grizzlies coach has established a pattern of “muted but direct acknowledgement” of the roster’s shortcomings, and his job is not necessarily in more trouble than any other NBA coach’s job is at risk when the team isn’t performing up to expectations, Herrington contends. The Commercial Appeal scribe’s piece delves more into the changing times in Memphis, and we’ll share more on that amid the latest from the Southwest Division:
- The Grizzlies have had few reasonable options to forestall the end of their “grit ‘n’ grind” run that countered the league’s small-ball trend, and Joerger’s decision to bench Zach Randolph and Tony Allen on Sunday signals the imminent death of the Grizzlies as we know them, SB Nation’s Tom Ziller opines. Ziller believes Joerger’s decision frees Memphis to explore trades for Randolph and Allen, both of whom have contracts that run through next season.
- Jonathon Simmons is showing off his athleticism and has averaged double figures in points over his last four games for the Spurs, and coach/executive Gregg Popovich seems impressed so far, as Tom Orsborn of the San Antonio News-Express details. Simmons has a fully guaranteed salary this season, but next season’s minimum salary is non-guaranteed.
- The Rockets have surged since new coach J.B. Bickerstaff moved Clint Capela and Patrick Beverley into the starting lineup, as the team has gone 7-2 with both of them present for the opening tip, observes Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle.