Memphis Grizzlies announce assistant coaching staff
The Memphis Grizzlies today named Chad Forcier, Jerry Stackhouse, Greg Buckner, Vitaly Potapenko, Nick Van Exel and Adam Mazarei as assistant coaches on the staff of Head Coach J.B. Bickerstaff. In addition, the team named J.J. Outlaw and Kevin Burleson as assistant coaches/player development.
We have assembled a diverse group of great basketball minds with an emphasis on discipline, grit, physical and mental toughness. We have coaches that have experienced success at the highest of levels, both individually and as part of great teams and organizations. We are determined to take our team back to the level of success that our fans have become accustomed and deserve. This staff is committed to teaching and demanding the values that this city and fan base expect from their Grizz! We look forward to the Grit & Grind!--J.B. Bickerstaff
“We are very excited about the coaching staff that we have put together,” Bickerstaff said. “We have assembled a diverse group of great basketball minds with an emphasis on discipline, grit, physical and mental toughness. We have coaches that have experienced success at the highest of levels, both individually and as part of great teams and organizations. We are determined to take our team back to the level of success that our fans have become accustomed and deserve. This staff is committed to teaching and demanding the values that this city and fan base expect from their Grizz! We look forward to the Grit & Grind!”
Forcier comes to Memphis with 22 years of NBA experience, including the last two seasons (2016-18) as an assistant coach with the Orlando Magic. Previously he served nine seasons (2007-16) as an assistant coach for Gregg Popovich and the San Antonio Spurs, where he focused on player development. During his time in San Antonio, the Spurs averaged 52 wins per season, including three 60-plus win seasons. San Antonio made the NBA Playoffs every year, including four trips to the Western Conference Finals (2008, 2012, 2013, 2014) and consecutive NBA Finals appearances (2013, 2014), and won the 2014 NBA Championship.
Before joining the Spurs, Forcier spent six seasons as an assistant coach under Rick Carlisle with the Detroit Pistons (2001-03) and Indiana Pacers (2003-07), reaching the Eastern Conference Finals in back-to-back seasons (2003, 2004). He began his coaching career in 1992 and spent five seasons (1992-97) working under George Karl and the Seattle SuperSonics, who averaged 59 wins per season, reached the Western Conference Finals twice (1993, 1996) and advanced to the 1996 NBA Finals.
Stackhouse joins the Grizzlies with three years of coaching experience, including one season (2015-16) as an assistant coach with the Toronto Raptors and the last two seasons (2016-18) as head coach of Raptors 905 in the NBA G League. Stackhouse led Raptors 905 to the 2016-17 NBA G League Championship and was named the NBA G League Coach of the Year in his first year on the sidelines before guiding the team back to the NBA G League Finals last season. He posted a 70-30 record (.700) in his two seasons with Raptors 905.
As a player, Stackhouse appeared in 970 regular season games for eight different teams over an 18-year NBA career (1995-2013). A two-time All-Star (2000, 2001) with the Detroit Pistons, he posted a career-high 29.8 points per game during the 2000-01 campaign, leading the league in total points and free throws made. Stackhouse was selected with the third overall pick of the 1995 NBA Draft following a two-year collegiate career at the University of North Carolina, where he earned First-Team All-American and Sports Illustrated Player of the Year honors as a sophomore playing for Head Coach Dean Smith.
Buckner appeared in 570 regular season games for five teams over a 10-year NBA career, helping his teams to the NBA Playoffs six times and concluding his playing career with the Grizzlies in the 2008-09 season. As a collegian at Clemson University, Buckner became the first Tiger to ever lead his team in scoring in four straight years (1994-98) and was inducted into the Clemson Athletic Hall of Fame in 2005.
Potapenko joins the Grizzlies following five seasons (2013-18) as the assistant director of player development for the Cleveland Cavaliers. He previously spent one season (2010-11) as an assistant coach for the Indiana Pacers and three seasons on the NBA G League sidelines as an assistant coach for the Dakota Wizards/Santa Cruz Warriors (2011-13).
Nicknamed “The Ukraine Train,” the Kiev native appeared in 610 regular season games for four teams over an 11-year NBA career after he was selected by the Cleveland Cavaliers with the 12th overall pick of the 1996 NBA Draft.
Van Exel returns to the Grizzlies for his third season and second under Bickerstaff. He joined the Grizzlies following two seasons (2014-16) on the sidelines with the NBA G League’s Texas Legends, where he worked his first year as an assistant coach before being promoted to head coach in his second season. Prior to that, he spent time as an assistant coach for the Milwaukee Bucks and Atlanta Hawks, as well as at Texas Southern University.
As a player, Van Exel appeared in 880 regular season games for six different teams over a 13-year NBA career (1993-2006). He was named an NBA All-Star during the 1997-98 season as a member of the Los Angeles Lakers. Van Exel played two collegiate years at the University of Cincinnati, leading the Bearcats to the 1992 NCAA Final Four, and earned Associated Press Third-Team All-American honors in 1993.
Mazarei returns to the Grizzlies for his sixth season and second under Bickerstaff. He joined the Grizzlies in 2013 and spent three seasons as a player development coach and advance scout before being promoted to assistant coach in 2016.
Before coming to Memphis, Mazarei was an assistant and associate head coach for three years (2010-13) at Moorpark College in California and served four years (2009-13) as a player development coach at IMPACT Basketball Academy in Las Vegas.
Outlaw, entering his third season with the organization, spent his first two years as a player development coach (2017-18) and advance scout (2016-17). He previously worked five seasons (2011-16) with the Los Angeles Lakers as a player development coach and video coordinator.
Burleson comes to Memphis following one season as an assistant coach for the NBA G League’s Iowa Wolves and three seasons as a player development coach for the Houston Rockets. He played 39 games for the Charlotte Bobcats during the 2005-06 season and also played professionally in the NBA G League and overseas in Germany, Romania, China and Qatar.