MEMPHIS, Tenn. (localmemphis.com) – Does a first-time head NBA coach, one of the youngest in the industry, have what it takes to lead the Memphis Grizzlies to victory?
That was one of many questions thrown at the new hire during his first introduction to Grizz Nation.
34-year-old Taylor Jenkins is the sixth straight coach hired by the Grizzlies who’s never coached an NBA team before.
The Grizzlies caught Grizz Nation off guard when they announced Jenkins will be the next head coach. People were caught off guard because no one knows him.
Wednesday, Jenkins was letting us get to know him.
“I think the vision is a unified one. I think we are all on the same page about how we want to build, sustain success. Um, we are obviously going to be diving in on how to build a great roster for next season, um, but you know, the energy and effort that it takes is already there,” said Jenkins. “You know I think we are on the same page about the competitive environment that we want to create, and at the end of the day, it starts in day one. It’s not an overnight process, and I think everyone is on the same page in terms of how we are going to go about it.”
And the Grizzlies don’t just have the second-youngest coach in the NBA, but the youngest general manager in 30-year-old Zach Kleiman, and the league’s youngest controlling owner in 41-year-old Robert Pera.
The question will be, can this youth revolution develop one the youngest cores in basketball into a sustainable contender.
“We know that there’s going to be ups and downs. We’re going to have our successes, we’re going to have our mistakes, we want to be perfect. But we know it’s going to take a team to do that,” said Jenkins. “And that’s what made me so ecstatic about this opportunity and no concern whatsoever.”
“The organization has made a significant commitment to Taylor, a long-term commitment, and we’re collectively invested that we get to that sustainable special place that we’re building to over time,” said Kleiman.
Jenkins has no time to settle in. He already has spoken to Jonas Valanciunas, who was on a fishing trip in Norway. Valanciunas‘ opt-in, opt-out decision is expected Thursday.
Then next week is the NBA Draft. The Grizzlies are widely expected to land Ja Morant with their second overall pick.