Will the real Memphis Grizzlies please stand up?
Prior to this season, you always knew what the product would be when watching the Memphis Grizzlies. With the addition of a rookie Head Coach, David Fizdale, the playing style was supposed to change, and it has.
Who were the Grizzlies?
When asked, “Who were the Memphis Grizzlies?” my first thought is a hard-nosed, smash mouth, basketball team. The old school Grizzlies were a team no one liked playing. Celtics head coach Brad Stevens even said, “In our games, (the Grizzlies) are clearly as physical as any team around,.” That’s the Grizzlies for you.
The Grizzlies were a team that physically wore you down. With the likes of Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph towering in the paint, you knew you weren’t getting through the game easily. Possession after possession they would feed the post, no matter who their opponent was.
The old Grizz were also a team that did whatever it took to win. Whether it was diving into the stands for loose balls, or adding a little extra something when fouling, they were going to do it. It was a strategy that worked, too, and it often left opponents furious.
For you lifelong Grizz fans, these were the good ole’ days, six straight playoff berths, and three trips out of the first round. The Grizzlies of old were a dying breed. In a league where everyone wanted to get out and run, Memphis proved you could do the opposite. They thrived with the Grit ‘n’ Grind mantra.
Who were they supposed to be this year?
When the Grizzlies hired head coach David Fizdale, he was supposed to usher in change. A change in the way of a new style of play, that would help them adjust to the new NBA. Being that Fizdale had never held a head coach position before, many were skeptical.
It’s no secret, every team wants to find a way to shoot more 3s. Knockdown 3-point shooters have become a necessity. It’s something every team wants more of. The new Grizzlies were supposed to drop the Grit ‘n’ Grind mentality, and learn to shoot. That’s the reason they added Chandler Parsons, to get more shooting.
Who are the Grizzlies now?
So far this season, we have seen a new and improved Grizzlies team. They aren’t the Grizz of old, but they aren’t like every team in the NBA either. Memphis, this year, is a mix of the old and new—like our political system and social media . Fizdale has kept the Grit ‘n’ Grind mantra, all while adding new elements.
The Memphis Grizzlies have proven that you can teach old dogs new tricks—or dance moves. Just a handful of game into the season, Gasol has surpassed his career high in 3-pointers. Even Mike Conley is getting in on the magic, hoisting over five attempts a game from deep. As most of you know, coming into the season, the 3-point shot was something to be concerned about. So, to have Gasol shooting it as well and as often as he is, along with Conley, is a welcomed change.
While adding the spacing this team so desperately needed, Fizdale also kept the focus on the defensive end. So far this season, Memphis ranks No. 4 in the league in defensive rating. The main reason the Grizz have been so good on the defensive end this season, is they are forcing turnovers. Memphis ranks top ten in blocks and steals per game, 8.1 and 5.6 respectively.
The success the Grizzlies have had this season, has a lot to do with the changes David Fizdale has made. He has been able to help the team stay true to its style, while adding the needed changes. We will have to see if the changes he has made stick, but if they do, the Grizzlies will certainly make some noise come playoff time.
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