Lawrence Buirse has posted his Grizzlies Preview over at Hoopsworld. Go over and give it a quick read. For most die hard Griz fans, there is nothing new to learn in the article. He talks about the additions to the roster, which we are all well aware of. And breaks down the players at the different positions (that seems familiar, hint, hint, hint)
It's a good read, though I do have a couple of disagreements with him on a few points.
1.) He talks about Hakim Warrick as a Small Forward. This is wrong. I'll take you back to the Commercial Appeal article about Hak from a few weeks ago (covered by us here). Here is the key quote:
The days of Warrick trying to learn small forward appear over. Iavaroni stresses versatility but intends to count on Warrick exclusively in the frontcourt.
Ok, that is pretty clear cut. Hak will NOT be playing small forward. Sorry Buirse, it does not look like Hak will be asked to " make the transition to small forward."
2.) Here is a quote from Buirse's article:
On paper, the Memphis Grizzlies appear to be an improved team in all areas except defense.
Scoring should not be a problem for this team. Making defensive stops……that’s a tall task.
Is that what other Griz fans believe? I guess after last years performance with Barone at the helm, nothing should be taken for granted. But I fully believe we will be a much improved team on defense this year. Why?
--Marc Iavaroni was hired as head coach. He has repeatedly said that defense will be a priority. He was assigned to the defense in Phoenix, and he has coached under Pat Riley and Mike Fratello, so I'm sure he knows what he is doing. Clearly, Iavaroni is going to get the Griz to play better defense.
--We signed Darko. Darko may not be known as a defensive stopper, but his shear size and athleticism will make the frontcourt better defensively compared to what was available last year with Hak, Alexander Johnson, Lawrence Roberts, and Big Jake.
--The PG rotation now includes Kyle Lowry and Mike Conley. For the last 2 years the Griz have lacked speed and quickness at PG to stop opposing PG's from penetrating at will. No longer. The Griz arguably have the quickest PG rotation in the league now. And if we add in the perimeter defense of Kinsey and the improvement of Rudy, I think we have 4 quality perimeter players that can play lock down defense.
Chip also looked at the defensive outlook of this Grizzlies team about a month ago. Read it here. He makes a number of points on why the Grizzlies will be better defensively this year (particularly no more Barone, 2 tall 7 footers in the paint, and Conley/Lowry/Kinsey being able to stop penetration).
So, I'm not nearly as pessimistic about the Grizzlies defensive outlook for this season. Sure we still have some players that are defensive liabilities (i.e., Miller and Hak), but a lineup of Lowry, Kinsey, Gay, Pau, and Darko will make it hard for most teams to score against the Griz easily.