MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The Memphis Grizzlies introduced new head coach Taylor Jenkins on Wednesday, and the team was confident Jenkins is the right man for the job.
Jenkins, formerly a Milwaukee Bucks assistant coach, will be the fifth head coach for the Grizzlies since 2013; one of the highest turnover rates for coaches in the NBA. The Grizzlies front office hopes Jenkins can be the head of the franchise for a long time to come.
At just 34 years old, Jenkins will become one of the youngest coaches in the league, something the franchise hopes will lead to him being around for the long-term future.
“The organization has made a significant commitment to Taylor, a long-term commitment,” Zach Kleimann, vice president of basketball operations, said. “And we’re collectively invested that we get to that sustainable special place that we’re building towards over time.”
“We value Taylor in so many different ways to us and what he means to this franchise; this is not a situation where it’s going to be a short-term process,” Tayshaun Prince, vice president of basketball affairs, said.
While this will be his first attempt at being an NBA head coach, and he knows tough times will come, Jenkins was undeterred by the questionable stability.
“We know that it’s gonna be ups and downs," Jenkins said. "We’re going to have our successes; we’re gonna have our mistakes. We want to be perfect, but we know that it’s going to take a team to do that, and that’s what made me so excited about this opportunity, and there was no concerns whatsoever.”
Three of the last four Grizzlies coaches made the playoffs in their last full season with the team, but they were still pushed out of the job. It's clear that expectations are high for Jenkins.
Jenkins said it's the Grizzlies' rough, competitive culture that, in part, drew him to the Bluff City.
“The energy and effort that it takes is already there," Jenkins said. "I think we’re on the same page with the competitive environment that we want to create, and at the end of the day, it starts on day one. It’s not an overnight process.”
The Grizzlies hired Jenkins without having a general manager, so the net step would appear to be molding a front office that can work with the man on the end of the bench.
—By WREG's Peter Fleischer