Saturday, October 13, 2007

Grizzlies Annual Open Practice

The Grizzlies held their Annual Open Practice today at noon at the FedEx Forum. The team was divided into three teams -- Blue, White and Green.

Blue team: Mike Miller, Kyle Lowry, Stromile Swift, Tarence Kinsey, Hakim Warrick
White team: Damon Stoudamire, Pau Gasol, J.C. Navarro, Andre Brown, Dontell Jefferson
Green team: Mike Conley Jr., Rudy Gay, Darko Milicic, Casey Jacobsen, Brian Cardinal

Honestly, it was hard to keep track of everything while taking pictures and maneuvering around the Forum, but what I did take notice of was the fact that the White team was dominant, winning 6 of the 8 games played, only losing once by my count. You can see Pau and Darko here just after the tipoff of the last game.

Here you see Brian Cardinal going up strong after grabbing an offensive rebound while Stro looks to close out on him defensively.

Andre Brown prepares to shoot a free throw while Pau moves into position for the possible rebound opportunity.

After the practice had concluded, the players threw T-shirts to those gathered in attendance before heading out to tables around the Forum to sign autographs.

The players patiently waited to be introduced to the crowd after the practice, each making sure to acknowledge the applause and cheers each was showered with in appreciation for their efforts.

Overall, this practice was just a brief glimpse at what the Grizzlies could become this season, as I'm sure they were tired from the international flight the previous day and were probably only going at 75% of full speed in this half-hour demonstration. A few quick impressions that I did get from the session:
  • Mike Conley has some of the quickest hands I've ever seen. He almost picked Kyle's pocket twice and Lowry isn't exactly a plodding player.
  • Darko still might not be comfortable on the offensive side of the court yet, but his defense showed some definite improvement, as he altered the shot attempts of Stro, Hakim and Pau on a few occasions.
  • Rudy has to be one of the Top 5 athletes in the NBA today. Words cannot describe what he's capable of on the court.
  • Casey Jacobsen only has one clearly defined skill -- shooting -- but he is very, very good at it. If he can continue to come off the bench and hit open jumpers, he could get more than just token minutes this season.
  • Kyle Lowry might be the toughest guy on this team. Heck, he might qualify for the Top 10 in the league in that category.

Those were my impressions of the practice. If anyone else went and would like to share your thoughts, feel free to do so in the Comments section.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

was there any rookie hazing at the open practice (singing school song) or did that disappear with Shane Battier?