As the Milwaukee Bucks look to get back to winning ways after a few days off, we caught up with Ian Pierno of Beale Street Bears as the Memphis Grizzlies are the visitors to Milwaukee.
Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports
Welcome to Opposition Intel!
Riding the crest of a wave with some spectacular wins a little over a week ago, the Milwaukee Bucks have now lost back-to-back games to teams who were winless prior to matching up with Jason Kidd‘s team.
That crash back down to the earth may have given the Bucks some much needed grounding in terms of the bigger picture, but sitting with a record of 4-4, it remains in Milwaukee’s interest to get back on track soon.
As they try to do that on Saturday, their opponent will be David Fizdale’s Memphis Grizzlies. The Grizzlies have matched Milwaukee’s 4-4 record in the early running, and much healthier than they were for most of last year, they certainly aren’t a team to be taken lightly.
Ahead of the action, we spoke to Memphis Grizzlies writer and friend of the site Ian Pierno to find out exactly what to expect in the game, and to learn about what matchups we should be looking out for.
Adam McGee (@AdamMcGee11): With a 4-4 start to the season, the beginnings of the David Fizdale era have been pretty solid for the Grizzlies. What have the noticeable differences been about his team so far?
Ian Pierno (@IanPierno): The differences between David Fizdale and Dave Joerger are drastic. With such a small sample size and key guys sitting out to start the year, it’s been tough to see what kind of offense the team is actually going to run, but we’ve seen glimpses. The increased number of three-point attempts make the team’s offense far harder to defend and also allows the team to make the most out of Marc Gasol‘s unique ability to pass out of the post.
He made a pretty ballsy move in shifting last year’s leading scorer, Zach Randolph, to more of a sixth man role, but it’s paid off. Randolph has relished the new role, averaging 23.4 points and 13.4 rebounds per 36 minutes so far this season.
Also, fans have appreciated Fizdale’s willingness to give young players big minutes, something that Joerger refused to do, even in a dead-end season. While playing Wade Baldwin IV and Andrew Harrison have been out of necessity, young guys like JaMychal Green and James Ennis have thrived when put in the starting lineup.
Mandatory Credit: Mary Langenfeld-USA TODAY Sports
Thoughts On The Bucks
Adam: What’s your impression of Milwaukee’s current roster and how do you expect them to fare over the course of the season?
Ian: Losing Khris Middleton really hurts the Bucks, but they’re still going to compete for a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference (that’s not a dig against Matthew Dellavedova, who I think fell into a good niche in Milwaukee). I still can’t believe how young this team’s core is, putting them up there with the Lakers and Timberwolves as eventual title contenders, at least in my book.
Also, Thon Maker‘s per 36 minutes stats are insane. Get this man on the court!