Week 1 didn’t bring the dominance Grizz Nation hoped for, but there’s no reason to get our fur matted just yet.
Joerger’s team is virtually (more like literally) the same team that pushed through to the Western Conference Finals less than 6 months ago. The Grizz were consistently considered the best defense in the league. The city of Memphis is overflowing with Grizzlies fans, and the whole country is beginning to take notice. You know it’s just a matter of time before we make a statement. So keep your heads up Grizz Nation, cause it’s going to be a long winter. While you wait, I’ve done some thinking and have come up with possible blemishes in the first week’s system.
Is Z-Bo getting traded?
It’s hard to imagine Zach Randolph playing anywhere else. But with next season being his fifth and final under contract, Grizz fans are understandably a little uneasy.
The trade rumors are circulating. Z-Bo has the option to opt out of his final contractual season, and at 32, long-term deals are hard to come by in this young and thriving league. It’s worth noting that Zach has a $16.9 million player option that could have the Front Office in Memphis hurting. In a classic turn of events both Randolph and the Grizzlies will have tough decisions to make. For Randolph: to argue for more money or settle for a few less million and retire a Grizzly? For the Grizz Staff: to risk busting the salary cap into luxury tax area or take a short-term risk to keep the heart of the team intact?
Here’s what Randolph had to say about it. Get ready. It’s blush-worthy for any Grizz fan:
(Joe Murphy/NBAE/Getty Images)
“I’d like to be here. I’d like to retire here. You never know. If I’ve got to make some sacrifices to be here, I would. I still can play. I can still help a team out. I want to win a championship. I’ve made all the money in the world. I just want to win. I don’t know yet [about opting in or opting out], but Memphis is my home. If they trade me tomorrow, I’m here. I just bought a new house. My daughters go to school [in Memphis]. That’s my home.”
Don’t lie; you loved reading that. And that’s just what he’s counting on.
Z-Bo has dug a place in Memphis history beyond his dominance in the paint. He’s a philanthropist and a leader within the city. Randolph said he’d make sacrifices to stay in Memphis, suggesting he’s open to a lesser salary in exchange for extended years with the Grizzlies. With Ed Davis being groomed for the starting power forward spot, I’d say a verbal recognition of his lowering stock was a smart move. Let’s not forget this guy was an All-Star last year, and with the exception of the first game against the Spurs, (who have continuously had his number) he has averaged 17.3 points and 10.3 rebounds per game in the last three games. All while shooting just over 55% from the field, might I add. It’s likely he won’t make the All-Star Game this year, but in the man’s own words, he can still play. And he still deserves to play in Memphis.
I mean how will we get by without classic Z-Bo moments like this… Arguably the greatest shot in our franchise’s history. Doesn’t hurt that it’s over Timmy Duncan.
Where [in the world] is the D??????
Just last season the Grizz were widely considered the most dominant defense in the NBA. Where do we stand now? Memphis is ringing in at number 22 in points allowed. I’ve been hearing a lot of “they’re not playing ‘Grizzlies Ball.’” While I think this is an absurdly vague excuse for a loss, I think what these fan “critics” mean to say is our defense hasn’t been nearly the force it was last season.
(Photo by Chris Vernon)
This is a correctable problem. Last night, Tony Allen and Marc Gasol had reassuring defensive showings against the Boston Celtics. They got back to the Grit N Grind defense that Grizz Nation is familiar with. Remember: we’ve seen four games of 82. Let’s give them time to settle in.
What’s next for Ed Davis?
I mentioned earlier that the young acquisition might be the guy to replace Zach Randolph.
While I recognize that were just four games into the regular season, I’m wondering (as I’m sure you are) when we’re going to see sparks. Joeger has Ed Davis splitting back up minutes with Jon Leuer, leaving questions unanswered about our power forward situation. Jon Leuer comes in and spreads the floor, but Davis brings a defensive presence that we need.
For now, Ed Davis is a big question mark. He’ll likely get more PT as the season progresses, so I guess we’ll just wait and see.
The Grizzlies trailed by twenty plus deficits in our first two losses of the season, forcing them to chase their opponents for a majority of the game. And we’ve chased fairly well but not well enough against the Spurs and the Mavs. Poor starts are without a doubt one of the major contributors to Grizz losses, and I think we can blame it on unfamiliar lineups of opponents and our own new offensive and defensive strategies. Pete Pranica and Sean Tuohy listed better first half play a key to last night’s game against Boston. I couldn’t agree more.
And yet… there’s hope! The easy week ahead:
Our boys are back in the Grindhouse this week with three consecutive home games. Last night was a much-needed win against a battered Celtics team. Boston made it harder on the Grizz than anticipated with their absurd shot-making, but a W is a W. Wednesday, we’re facing a tougher, much improved Pelicans team (improved, with the exception of their name) in a match that should show Grizz fans more about the team’s situation. The real test, however, will be against the Warriors, who have been chosen to finish ahead of Memphis in many predictions.
Patience, Grizz Nation…Patience…