John Hollinger left ESPN in 2012 to become VP of basketball operations for the Memphis Grizzlies at the start of the trend of media analysts getting jobs with professional teams. That practice has only continued since, though now Hollinger might be at the beginning of another trend: media analysts who join a front office and then return to the media.
That’s because Hollinger is leaving the Grizzlies and heading to The Athletic, both parties announced today.
My first free-agent scoop in seven years: John Hollinger has signed with The Athletic. https://t.co/uHPYfs28fv
— John Hollinger (@johnhollinger) September 30, 2019
Hollinger gave a bit of insight as to why now was the time, he notes that the NBA, specifically the Western Conference, is heading for a potential period of highly competitive basketball. And while Hollinger doesn’t put it this way, the Grizzlies, obviously, are not; they’re entering a rebuilding phase, this summer’s trade of Mike Conley to the Utah Jazz the final step away from competing.
Instead, Hollinger focuses on how he hopes to bring his experience on the inside to readers, in his typically data-driven fashion.
But times have changed too, and not just because the West is competitive again. Most notably, analytics has blown up since my last go-round. My most famous invention, PER, is old enough to drink now, and some new evaluative methods have come along to help shed more light. So while I’ll still deliver some of the familiar analytics, I’ll also introduce some other, more recent tools.
Obviously, my perspective has shifted too. In addition to a lifetime supply of Tony Allen stories, I now have an insider’s perspective of working on trades, drafts and free agency, which I’ll use to explain not just what happened but also why, and most importantly, what to expect next.
Naturally, no one is expecting Hollinger to spill a ton of state secrets in his new role, but there’s no question that experience on the inside is invaluable for a role like this, especially such recent experience. It’ll be nice to have him back.