When the Grizzlies parted ways with head coach David Fizdale last month, the move came on the heels of Marc Gasol publicly complaining about being benched in the fourth quarter of a loss to Brooklyn. In the days following Fizdale’s firing, multiple reports suggested that the relationship between Gasol and Fizdale had been strained, though both the player and the team downplayed the influence that tension had in the club’s head coaching decision.
Things haven’t gotten much better in Memphis since J.B. Bickerstaff assumed the head coaching reins, but Gasol hasn’t shied away from answering reporters’ questions, recently reiterating that he has no desire to leave the Grizzlies.
Gasol sat down with TNT’s David Aldridge to answer a few more questions about what has been a disastrous 2017/18 season in Memphis. Here are a few highlights from that Q&A, which is worth checking out in full:
On whether he’s concerned that his reputation has taken a hit this season, given the Grizzlies’ struggles and the circumstances surrounding Fizdale’s ouster:
“No. Because I believe that whatever the scenario might be, whatever people might think, things don’t work that easy. It’s not that simple. Obviously, the first instinct is to think, ‘Well, Marc got Fizdale out of there.’ This is an NBA team. Things don’t work that way. Was it an ideal situation? Were we agreed on everything? No. I could have done a better job, for sure. Anything having to do with basketball, I’m the second-most responsible guy out there. But as far as the other stuff, it doesn’t work that way.”
On whether the Grizzlies’ struggles in 2017/18 can be chalked up solely to injuries:
“I think we allowed some bad habits to be built up. We got away with it for some time. Eventually, we kind of got hit with a lot of stuff at the same time. And we haven’t been able to recover as fast as possible. Obviously we lost, I don’t think it’s only selfish stuff that’s hurt us. Everybody’s trying to fix it their own way. And everybody’s so focused on what we need to do offensively. Which, obviously, is a huge part of the game. But I think consistency is found in defense. And our defense has been everything but consistent.”
On whether the NBA’s move toward small-ball has hurt Gasol and the Grizzlies defensively:
“No, I think, obviously, the change that we’ve been through the last couple of years. We had tremendous trust on the court. The guys knew exactly what their job was in every position. I knew the way Tony [Allen] fought off a screen. I knew, like we were all connected in our minds, and our bodies were moving at the same time. It wasn’t always pretty; it wasn’t always perfect. But it was always connected. And I think, obviously, building that connection again takes some time. And you have to go through the same process over and over again. And I think we got kind of away from that a little bit. We got away from that and tried to build something too quickly, when the foundation of stuff, that connection wasn’t there yet.”