The Memphis Grizzlies have signed Milwaukee Bucks assistant coach Taylor Jenkins to lead their team next year.
You might not know that much about Taylor Jenkins, and you wouldn’t be alone in that camp. However, if you love the NBA, then you’ll get to know him next season. The Memphis Grizzlies hired him as their next head coach, per the latest Woj bomb of the summer, and Jenkins will be the one tasked with turning around the franchise.
Jenkins used to coach with the Austin Toros, the NBADL affiliate of the San Antonio Spurs, and his first NBA job was with the Atlanta Hawks. He coached the Toros for four years, and he also helped out occasionally with the Spurs during playoff runs. That’s how he came to know Bucks head coach Mike Budenholzer.
“Coach Budenholzer put me in a position of advanced scouting for the team,” said Jenkins to SB Nation about his time with the Toros/Spurs. “I basically create small reports for the team to use. It has been a great opportunity for me, in fact, it is my first time scouting at the NBA level.”
So basically, Jenkins comes from the Gregg Popovich and Budenholzer coaching tree, and it makes total sense that the Grizzlies would trust their rebuild to a coach like this, who not a lot of people had ever even heard of until today.
Another former NBADL coach named Nick Nurse is one win away from bringing the Toronto Raptors their first championship in franchise history, and so it appears that the trend is moving towards hiring relatively unknown coaches, who also happen to have excellent resumes and experience.
The Grizzlies had a fairly awful season by most metrics, and they’ve also had to watch their former franchise player Marc Gasol log quality minutes in the 2019 NBA Finals.
Whether or not Jenkins has success with the organization is dependent on how well they draft this offseason. The good news is that they have the No. 2 overall pick due to their poor record. Drafting Ja Morant could mean the end of the Mike Conley Jr. era, and so it will fascinating to see if they pick a point guard or go for a wing player like R.J. Barrett. Jenkins will have his work cut out for him in the Western Conference, though, after living on easy street this season in the East.