On Wednesday afternoon, the Memphis Hustle announced that they’ve hired Brad Jones to be the new head coach of the franchise. That position opened up earlier this summer when Glynn Cyprien decided to sign on an assistant coach with Texas Tech.
The Hustle definitely found a great replacement for Cyprien in Jones, as their new head coach has a terrific track record at the NBA and G League levels. When it comes to The Association, he spent four years with the Utah Jazz from 2012-2016. Jones was able to work himself up from being an assistant coach for playing development to the lead assistant coach to Quin Snyder during Jones’ final two years in Salt Lake City.
Following that, he moved to the G League where he was the General Manager for the Iowa Wolves during the 2017-18 season. His gig with Iowa was actually a return to the G League, as Jones actually stands as one of the more accomplished coaches in league history. He won a title as head coach for the then-Austin Spurs in 2011-12 and also pushed the Utah Flash to the championship round in 2008-09. Those significant accomplishments led Jones to maintain a 148-118 record during his five combined seasons as a head coach with Utah (2007-10) and Austin (2010-12).
In addition to great on-court success, Jones also helped push seven players to receive 12 NBA Call-Ups during his two seasons with Austin. One of those call-ups was Lance Thomas, who is still in the NBA as a forward for the New York Knicks.
Considering how the Memphis Grizzlies currently appear to be on the verge of a rebuild, it definitely makes sense for the organization to hire a more experienced coach to lead their G League affiliate. Because rather than having to learn on the fly, Jones will know how to deal with the different struggles that come from being a G League head coach.
Arguably the biggest issue comes from having your G League team be a cohesive unit despite how rosters can change in a blink of an eye. That roster adjustment can come from the NBA affiliate’s prospect getting sent down, the frequent movement of two-way players or your leading scorer receiving a call-up a few hours before tip-off. With his experience in Utah and Austin, Jones will be accustomed to dealing with those type of situations while still having a team that can work well together on both ends of the court.
In addition to dealing with those unique G League struggles, Jones’ experience at both the major and minor league level should allow him to be a great mentor to G League prospects as he has a great knowledge of what executives and coaches look for in potential call-ups. That understanding should also help two-way prospects Kobi Simmons and Yuta Watanabe because Jones will be able to utilize the combination of his experience and insight from the big league club to figure out which skills that those players will have to work on before they’re ready to be part of the Grizzlies rotation.
Despite the fact that he hasn’t even started his career with the Memphis Hustle, Brad Jones already stands as one of the best coaches in the G League due to the combination of experience and past success in that position. From the jump, he’ll need to use that combination to both push the Hustle to the playoffs but also develop some prospects that could fit into the Grizzlies rotation in future years.
Although the jury’s obviously still out on how well the team will do and which prospects could grow into NBA players, both Grizzlies and Hustle fans should be excited about the hiring of Brad Jones.