Tonight, the Grizzlies will open their preseason schedule in St. Louis against the Chicago Bulls. Lots of storylines here, even if it is only a preseason game, and the biggie will be of course, how former Memphis Tiger and NBA MVP Derrick Rose looks after an 18-month recovery from a knee injury.
For Grizzlies fans, the storylines will be how the new guys look — guys like Kosta Koufos and Nick Calathes. Also “old/new guys” — specifically Mike Miller with his nifty sharpshooting and the new head coach Dave Joerger. And how this new uptempo offense will look. If the Grizzlies can add a potent offense to its stifling defense, the team truly becomes scary.
And so, we wrap up our Media Day 2013 coverage with a look at the Grizzlies bigs: Marc Gasol, along with newcomer Kosta Koufos. Together, there is unprecedented depth at center for the Grizzlies. Sure, Gasol is the reigning Defensive Player of the Year, but it’s easy to forget that he operates as a “point center” — setting up the Grizzlies offense with great passes from the top of the key.
And Koufos spent much of last season as a starter for a Denver Nuggets squad that won more games than the Grizz did. He rebounds, scores around the basket, defends. . . . there should be next to NO drop off when Gasol sits down, and when you look around the rest of the roster, a case could be made for the second coming of Hubieball — the 10-man rotation that ground teams into the dirt back in 2004. Except this team seems WAAAAY more talented in its depth.
Finally, Coach Joerger. The guy’s got no jitters about taking over for his former boss, Lionel Hollins. Easy to forget: even though he’s a rookie NBA coach, he’s not a rookie head coach. Joerger has won at all levels, including minor league championships, coach of the year honors, and more. He is not rattled at all by this new responsibility. After all, it is still basketball, and they’re still basketball players. Why would he be nervous? See for yourself . . .