May 9, 2016, 8:00 am
According to Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical at Yahoo Sports, Memphis has reached out to former Pacers coach Frank Vogel about filling the shoes of the recently fired Dave Joerger. A healthy, rejuvenated Memphis team with Vogel at the helm could be a nice fit for team and coach alike.
After being surprisingly let go from his post in Indiana, Vogel will have no shortage of suitors on the open market. His defense-first mindset would fit well with Memphis’ Grit and Grind philosophy. He was able to coax the most out of Roy Hibbert and did well to make the playoffs with an underwhelming roster this season. In his five seasons as coach of the Pacers, the team ranked 12th, 10th, 1st, 1st, 8th and 3rd in defensive efficiency. There’s no doubt he can coach a team to play lockdown defense, but whether he views Memphis as the best fit for him remains to be seen.
Memphis will be looking to shape their roster around Marc Gasol and Mike Conley, assuming they can convince the point guard to re-sign. Otherwise it will be back to the drawing board for a team that defies convention by playing from the post in a pace and space world.
A rebuilding job probably isn’t something Vogel has in mind, so Conley departing in free agency (if Vogel waits that long) would likely hurt Memphis’ chances here. On the other hand, luring an established coach of Vogel’s caliber could help convince Conley to stick around. Vogel can afford to be patient if he wants, as he is currently the best coach available and will draw interest from any team with a coaching vacancy.
Vogel’s Pacers were torpedoed in the playoffs by his insistence on playing all-bench lineups that lacked any reliable source of production at either end. It’s probable he’s learned from his mistakes, and perhaps a re-tooled Memphis roster can provide better bench play. The odd lineups are probably not overly scary for Memphis brass considering the state of the Grizzlies roster at season’s end. If they spend the offseason bolstering the team’s depth, a Vogel-to-Memphis scenario could prove to be a huge win for the Grizzlies.