Last week, I was sitting around with friends and commented on a headline I skimmed across: ‘Grizzlies fire entire scouting department.’ Just like the majority of people who come across text like this, I immediately believed it was true without perusing the article. Seems like it was all much ado about nothing. Memphis did let a couple of scouts go, but there are still five people in the organization taking care of that side of the business, no matter what their titles. If you believe what Grizzlies GM Chris Wallace states below on WHBQ in Memphis, the headline was written to strictly grab eyeballs and didn’t contain half the truth. Memphis has scouts, has always had scouts, and they’re doing just fine, thank you. Wallace explains what turnover actually happened in the scouting department, the philosophy of having fewer people doing in that area, and an example of that philosophy working in Boston.
On what actually happened:
“We did let a few guys go, three guys – two domestically and one in Europe – there’s a possibility one of the those guys may come back and actually work with us. We have two people in Europe, we still have the same amount of coverage, and our guy was described as part-time in the column, but the person that’s no longer with us was also wearing several hats – he was working for a shoe company – he wasn’t working full-time for the Grizzlies anyway. So, we have adequate coverage there, we know what’s going on in Europe, all of us have been to Europe countless times, we came up with Marc Gasol and got him signed. And, right now we have, including our European person, five people – and I’m included in that five – involved in our scouting efforts.”
On why a smaller group of scouts works:
“For about half the time I was in Boston, just myself and Leo Papile did the scouting. We ended up drafting three guys that made the all-star team. Later on, when we came up with the nucleus of the players that helped fuel the Celtics championship… We had a total of five people including myself, and Danny Ainge, and no regional scouts. So, there are several different ways you can approach scouting: you can have all these different people in areas around the country, or you can consolidate the scouting in to the hands of a smaller group that are gonna be responsible for the success or failure of the actual decisions that a team makes. We went the route of the smaller number of scouting efforts but we’re all doing the same thing we’ve done before.”
On the story’s inaccuracies and the philosophy of scouting organization:
“I don’t think you need a huge group of people involved in this. I’ve been with teams where money was no object and we had all sorts of people working all over the globe. I’ve been at other teams where we were more conservative so to speak, we had the scouting and trust in a smaller group of people. And, quite frankly, the results were better when we had it in a smaller group of people. I don’t feel that we are at a competitive disadvantage at all. I think it’s the type of story that is very easy to grab on to and say, ‘Ha ha! The Grizzlies are being cheap’ or ‘Look, the small guy’s getting kicked,’ but that’s not the case at all.”