The real thing is getting closer, and the Grizzlies seem to be getting closer to “prepared”.
After we get over being upset that Ronnie Price didn’t play, there are, in a preseason-ish sort of way, seven things we can take from this game that might help us see a bit more clearly what might happen when (-) doesn’t show in the win/loss spot on the NBA.com boxscore….One: Welcome Mr. Davis. 7-10, a team-leading +20 (I know, I know, but it’s still nice to see), and only 3 fouls in over 27 minutes of game time. Tack on a couple blocks for good measure. No, he wasn’t exactly playing against a top-tier frontcourt, but there were a couple NBA-worthy guys in there.
Two: Speaking of NBA-worthy frontcourt guys, Vucevic. He’s going to rival Oladipo for the title of “guy who can almost make me watch the Magic willingly this season” (Harkless is also a pretty smooth player). Not ridiculously athletic, but a more-than-competent rebounder and a young player who knows what to do in the paint. He’s a player that helps one believe that maybe the “oh it’s all getting more perimeter-oriented” is a bit overhyped. Had he not fouled out, this game likely would have been even closer than it was.
Three: Jerryd Bayless did not have his best outing, but that’s ok. Keep gunnin’ JB. With any luck he’s getting used to playing with different combinations of guys, because he’s likely going to be out there with a very wide mix of players during the season. Finding a new set of “spots” for a bench scorer is tough enough due to the player turnover, but with a new coach and a still-weird-feeling opt-in situation, it’ll take a bit for him to settle in.
Four: Yes. ZBo is idling the engine. We’ve discussed this previously, and it’s still idling. He’ll need to give it some gas over the last few games of preseason..and we’ll see what happens. Hopefully the gas light isn’t yet lit.
Five: Isn’t “a bit of a logjam in the frontcourt” a nice phrase? Except that…the Grizzlies don’t have one. Even if ALL FIVE of the currently viable Grizzlies frontcourt guys stay healthy over the season (oh wouldn’t that be awesome?!??!!?), there is a place for each of them. Davis and Leuer sit in nicely divergent spots on the frontcourt compass-Davis with the length and shotblocking, and Leuer with the passing and shooting.
Six: Calathes with five assists and zero TO’s in 14 minutes. Let’s see, per 36, that’s….IT’S PRESEASON NEVER MIND…but not really. This guy is a point guard. For those of you who, like me, still wish that Greivis hadn’t helped off Harden that time, it’s looking more and more like the team has found a similar player who complements C0nley well and is not undersized. The passes are flashy, but in this game as in the others in which he’s played, his court vision was on full display. The drive down the middle late in Q4 to score the floater was just as good an example of that as any of his assists-a PG has to know when scoring is the smart option.
Seven: It’s still a nice win, and it’s just darned fun to watch guys like Tony Gaffney fight for a job in the NBA. Games like this are also perhaps a Grizzly fan’s best chance to watch Franklin play appreciable minutes, as a good portion of the upcoming season will, for him, likely be devoted to dominating the D-League (which I do think he’ll do, in spurts at least).
Atlanta Sunday afternoon. Will the Grizzlies play a good day game?