“He’s a great basketball mind,” Griz general manager Chris Wallace said. Bzdelik made the case that being away from the NBA for so long shouldn’t be viewed negatively because of the extent of his resume. “Players are so young now in the league that I’ve got a sense of how to connect with them by being in college and I have an understanding of that generation,” Bzdelik said. “I’ve been around a lot of veteran (NBA) players, too. My first year in the NBA with Washington we had Moses Malone and Bernard King. I can draw from both experiences as far as veteran players and younger players. I really missed the NBA. I love the NBA. I always stayed connected with it. It’s great to be back in it.
Jeff Bzdelik Rumors
Bzdelik, who made a name for himself as a strong defensive coach with the Miami Heat under Pat Riley, makes his NBA return with a Grizzlies team that speaks the same language as those Riley-led Heat squads once did. “The timing was right,” said Bzdelik, who joined Griz coach Dave Joerger’s staff as an assistant coach last month. And Joerger appreciates the timing of Bzdelik’s sudden availability. In search of another coach with NBA head coaching experience and someone to help sustain the Grizzlies’ elite defense, Joerger tabbed Bzdelik. “That’s where his focus will be,” Joerger said, referring to his desire to tap into Bzdelik’s highly regarded defensive mind. “I value his head coaching experience but everybody brings a different strength. … What he brings is great experience having worked with Riley in Miami. He’s a detail guy. He’s very organized. He’s going to fit with the level of toughness that we have and want to keep having here.”