Mike Conley Proving Worth for Grizzlies
The most common narrative is that the Memphis Grizzlies closed their eyes and said a prayer when they gave Mike Conley a five-year, $45 million contract extension in the fall of 2010.
Lionel Hollins knew little about Conley when he took over as head coach of the woeful Grizzlies in January of 2009. He had a long history with the franchise, having twice served as an assistant and interim coach. But he spent the beginning of the 2008-09 season in Milwaukee, as a Bucks assistant.
One thing was clear, though: The players who had been given a chance to play that season had gotten the last guy fired, so the other guys couldn’t be much worse.
“To me it was pretty simple,” Hollins said. “They’d drafted Mike fourth overall the year before, but he’d gotten hurt as a rookie. They also had Kyle Lowry as the starting point guard and they’d been talking about trading Mike.
Since the Grizzlies traded away leading scorer Rudy Gay in January, Conley has blossomed, leading the team in scoring (16.4), assists (6.4) and 3-pointers (52).