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Assessing the Memphis Grizzlies Coaches for 2020-21

| December 13, 2020 2:23 am PDT
Memphis Grizzlies Coaching Staff Analysis for 2020-21

The Memphis Grizzlies appear to be arriving at the end of their rebuild. More pieces will come in due time, but their young core is in place with Ja Morant already approaching superstardom.

Memphis displayed their upside with a playoff run last season, and with a good coaching staff manning the sidelines, the future appears to be bright.

Can bettors bank on the Grizzlies making a big leap this year? Is Taylor Jenkins the right man for the job at head coach? Let’s answer both questions by taking a closer look at the Memphis Grizzlies 2020-21 coaching staff.

Taylor Jenkins – Head Coach

Memphis probably shocked a lot of people when they announced the hire of Taylor Jenkins. A 36-year old who’s only head coaching experience was with the G-League’s Austin Toros and had only been around the NBA at a high level since 2013.

All true, but Jenkins impressed while with the Toros (leading them to a 27-23 record and a first-round playoff win), and then stood out on Mike Bundenholzer staffs while in Atlanta and Milwaukee.

He happened to go viral once, too.

Jenkins has only known winning at every level he’s coached at, and his two most important stops saw him assist some truly impressive offenses.

Memphis benefited from Jenkins’ steady presence instantly last year, turning into a borderline .500 team with the 6th fastest pace in The Association.

After reaching a playoff play-in series against Portland in his first season on the job, Jenkins has the future in Memphis looking promising.

Memphis Grizzlies’ Assistant Coaches

Jenkins is a risky hire, but he’s got an amazing coaching pedigree. The results from his first season on the job were also incredibly encouraging.

On the surface, Jenkins looks like he’ll be a good hire, but what about the rest of his coaching staff? Let’s get to know the other Grizzlies coaches going into the 2020-21 NBA season.

Brad Jones

Jones has direct ties to Taylor Jenkins from their days with the Toros, but Jones has been involved in coaching since 1990. He began as an assistant at Lambuth University but made a name for himself with a .625 winning percentage and two conference titles.

Jones moved on to work as a scout with the Jazz and dabbled in the G-League until getting his own call-up of sorts with Memphis. He enters his second season as a Grizzlies assistant coach.

David McClure

A Coach K protege and former Blue Devils player, McClure enters year two under Jenkins after working as an assistant with the Indiana Pacers from 2015-2018. McClure brings player development, playoff experience, and a winning mentality to the table for a rising Grizzlies organization.

Vitaly Potapenko

A well-traveled coach, Potapenko got his start as a player at Wright State University, where the man nicknamed “The Ukraine Train” found himself selected one spot ahead of the legendary Kobe Bryant in the 1996 NBA Draft.

While Potapenko would never be as good as The Black Mamba, he enjoyed a respectable 13-year career as a useful big man and turned to coaching in 2009. He got his start on the bench at Fort Wayne and has bounced around from Indiana to Cleveland before landing in Memphis in 2018.

Scoonie Penn

Penn latched on with Memphis for his first season in 2019 after putting in two years of work at Ohio State with a specialization in player development. The Ohio State legend helped the Buckeyes get to the 1999 Final Four and then enjoyed a productive career overseas.

Sonia Raman

The latest addition to the Grizzlies staff, Raman is one of the few female NBA coaching assistants. Her path to the league is abnormal, but her intelligence and drive is undeniable. She also excelled at MIT, where she became the all-time winningest coach in the program’s history.

Raman joins the NBA’s ranks as just the 14th female assistant ever and the first to be of Indian origin.


The jury is still out on Taylor Jenkins, to be sure. He deserves credit, though, as Memphis was extremely competitive during his first season as head coach, and he had a hand in Ja Morant and other young players reaching their potential early.

Where the Grizzlies go from here, of course, will decide how the media and fans view Jenkins and this coaching staff.

The good news is Jenkins is far from alone. He has some experienced, diverse, and brilliant minds helping him every step of the way.

Is that all enough to get you to bet on the Grizzlies this year? That decision is up to you.

For more 2020-21 NBA coaching staff breakdowns, hit the links below.

Noah Davis
Noah Davis

Noah Davis is one of the more diverse writers at GamblingSites.com. Like many of his colleagues, he's a huge fan of both football and basketball. But he also writes about box office records, TV show prop bets, DFS, and all kinds of other subjects.

When it comes to the NFL, Noah's favorite team is the Cleveland Browns. He enjoys cheering them on with his wife and daughter.

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