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Houston Rockets hire Chris Wallace, architect of ‘Grit and Grind’ Grizzlies

MEMPHIS, TN - MAY 27: (L-R) Zach Randolph #50, Mike Conley #11 and Marc Gasol #33 of the Memphis Grizzlies walk back to the bench during a timeout in the first half during Game Four of the Western Conference Finals of the 2013 NBA Playoffs at the FedExForum on May 27, 2013 in Memphis, Tennessee. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
MEMPHIS, TN - MAY 27: (L-R) Zach Randolph #50, Mike Conley #11 and Marc Gasol #33 of the Memphis Grizzlies walk back to the bench during a timeout in the first half during Game Four of the Western Conference Finals of the 2013 NBA Playoffs at the FedExForum on May 27, 2013 in Memphis, Tennessee. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
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Houston Rockets
Mike Conley receives the 2016 Joe Dumars NBA Sportsmanship Award from Grizzlies General Manager Chris Wallace (Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)

According to ESPN’s Tim MacMahon, the Houston Rockets are hiring Chris Wallace to act as director of scouting.  Wallace brings an impressive CV to Houston, he was the general manager of the Boston Celtics from January 2001 to May 2003 and then held the same position for the Memphis Grizzlies from June 2007 to April 2019.

While his stint as general manager in Boston came with mixed results, he did oversee the selections of Paul Pierce and Joe Johnson in the NBA draft. Following Wallace’s time in Boston, he replaced Jerry West in Memphis, where he really made a name for himself.

The architect of the ‘Grit and Grind’ Grizzlies is with the Houston Rockets

Hired right before the 2007 NBA draft, the first decision that Wallace made for the Grizzlies was the selection of Mike Conley. Building through the draft and trades, Wallace was the architect of the iconic ‘Grit and Grind’ Grizzlies that made the postseason seven consecutive seasons.

Much maligned for the trade of Pau Gasol to the Los Angeles Lakers, he was eventually vindicated when Marc Gasol became an All-NBA player and the defensive player of the year. After starting as a scout for the Portland Trail Blazers in 1986, Wallace worked his way up the NBA front office ladder.

He brings a wealth of experience to the Houston Rockets front office and should act as an excellent counterbalance to the franchise’s known adherence to analytics. He has an excellent track record in the draft and will be an invaluable asset as the franchise begins its rebuild.

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With three first-round picks in the 2021 NBA Draft Wallace will have his hands full over the next few weeks. Successful rebuilds start in the front office and the Rockets just made theirs a whole lot stronger.

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