The Grizzlies‘ 22-win season in 2017/18 was their worst showing since they posted an identical record in 2007/08, and snapped a streak of seven consecutive playoff appearances. However, controlling owner Robert Pera sounds confident that Memphis’ struggles last season can be primarily attributed to injuries and bad luck, as Ronald Tillery of The Memphis Commercial Appeal details. Pera expects the club to be “competitive” once again in 2018/19, assuming it can stay healthier.
Pera asserted those expectations during an appearance on the Grind City Media podcast on the club’s official site, with Tillery passing along some of the highlights. As Tillery observes, the conversation didn’t touch on a number of issues that other local reporters might like to press Pera on, including David Fizdale‘s firing, Chandler Parsons‘ contract, and further details of the buy/sell process that allowed Pera to retain control of the franchise.
Still, Pera made a few interesting comments during the discussion. Here they are, via Tillery:
On his expectations for the 2018/19 season:
“Assuming Marc [Gasol] and Mike [Conley] come back healthy, I think we have a couple of surrounding pieces that are younger players that are going to make a positive impact. We’ll get another good player in this draft. I see no reason why we can’t return to being a 50-win plus team.”
On his goals now that he’s firmly entrenched as the Grizzlies’ controlling owner:
“I’d like to put my stamp on the team more now that the ownership situation is resolved. I’d like to apply some of the skills that made my company, Ubiquiti, successful. I also realize it’s a little bit different. With my company, I can make all the decisions on the long-term (vision). I can be kind of a dictator. With the team, there’s more elements than just the long-term picture. You have to have some transparency with the fans. … How you handle the media and the fans are almost as important as the long-term goals. It took me some time to find my bearings the last several years.”
On what it means to put his stamp on the franchise:
“The goal for the Grizzlies is that people know that if they take a player or find a player, this is [the] best organization in the league for realizing that player’s potential.”
On the promotion of J.B. Bickerstaff to the permanent head coaching position:
“We’ve had turnover in the head coaching spot and J.B. brings some continuity. The players have worked with him and the players all love him. He’s very transparent. He carries himself really well. He’ll compromise when he sees it’s best for the organization. I have confidence in him to be that centerpiece of the culture we want to build. He’s a great fit.”