The Memphis Grizzlies entered the FedEx Forum for the first time this year that ended with a 95-90 loss to the Dallas Mavericks. The main talk of tonight’s game was working on team chemistry and finding out what kind of role does each bench player have on this team. “We’ve got some competition for some spots and that is not a bad thing we got some guys playing very well” Head Coach Dave Joerger said. The defense was a disappointment in Coach Joerger’s opinion. “I thought they pretty much got anything they wanted” Joerger said. Many of the players that did not play tonight were Marc Gasol, Quincy Pondexter, Tayshaun Prince, Kosta Koufos, Tony Allen, and Melvin Ely.
Tonight there were certain players that really caught Grizzlies fan’s and my attention here in the Grindhouse.
1. Jon Leuer
Jon Leuer right now is the preseason all-star for this team. Playing 34 minutes for the Grizzlies tonight with 17 points, 10 rebounds, 5 assists, and 1 block. Jon has really proven that he has worked a lot on his game during the off season and had a terrific training camp. “When the bigs play one on one Jon will win a lot of those games, he’s hard to guard” Joerger said on his performance at training camp. Joerger’s system fits for Leuer. He’s able to move around more and work on his shooting. season. Leuer tonight gained a lot of confidence on his skills. “As a big you get to make players on the perimeter. I feel like I have some guard skills where I can do that. I feel like I can shoot the ball and stretch the defense. It’s just a matter of making hard plays, and we have freedom as bigs in the offense to do that” Leuer said on his preseason performance. The question now is whether how much playing time Leuer has now earned for the regular season.
2. Nick Calathes
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I’m a Nick Calathes guy. The passing skills that Calathes has for this team is elite. It was easy to tell that Calathes has already started a chemistry with some players but believes this team needs to work on it’s chemistry. “We have a lot of new guys that haven’t played together but it will gel” Calathes said. Finishing the night with 11 points, 5 rebounds, and 3 assists this is only the beginning of Nick Calathes. Nick told me he stills need to work on his defensive game “I’m learning a lot. I’ve made mistakes I’ll work on them and watch film and improve” said Calathes. If Nick can improve his shooting skills and defense, then the Grizzlies may have finally found the backup point guard they’ve been looking for in years.
3. Ed Davis
Davis probably had one of the more disappointing performances of the night. With a sloppy 10 points and 10 rebounds from Davis, he still needs improvement for this team. There were many missed rebounds. free throws, and inside paint shots that really hurt Davis tonight. But fans need to remember that Davis was put at the center position tonight and not power forward. So if Davis has the same type of performance at the power forward position then don’t be surprised if Koufos get’s some playing time at the backup power forward spot.
4. Jamaal Franklin
The rookie finished tonight with 9 points, 4 assists, and 7 rebounds. Franklin showed plenty of rookie mistakes during the first 3 quarters of tonight’s game but finally found his game going in the 4th quarter. Franklin will make his rookie mistakes throughout the season like every rookie does but if he can work on his 3 point shooting then he will have no trouble earning playing time with this team.
Grizznation came out strong tonight with 11,459 and was really into the game throughout even when the team was down by twenty. Overall you can tell fans were ecstatic that Grizzlies basketball is back in Memphis and ready for the regular season to start.