Thursday, October 18, 2007

What are we learning so far about the Grizzlies?

Well that stunk last night.

Another game against an opponent we expect to be competitive or better against and another big first half deficit. This time the 1st half was too great a margin to overcome.

The problem is that we won't be making big comebacks against scrubs once the season begins. The players who are establishing these big leads are going to continue to play big minutes in the 2nd half once the season begins. The players that are putting the team in big holes are going to need to play better if the team wants to perform at the level their fans seem to expect. The only good news from last night's game was that it was blacked out over most of the Memphis TV market (Comcast isn't showing any NBA action until Oct. 30th-What's up with that?) so not alot of people saw how poorly the team played through most of the game.

Or are we overthinking this?

What have we learned about the Grizzlies so far? We learned that playing defense isn't as easy as talking about playing defense. We learned that NBA teams are more difficult to play than European teams. We learned that 48 minutes of good play will usually defeat 24 minutes of excellent play.

Iavaroni is new to this job and trying to radically change the way our players think about the game. Mistakes are being made but that is what training camp is all about isn't it? The team has travelled to Europe and back, had numerous open practices to raise public opinion on the team and frankly there are a lot of young and new faces on this team so is it any surprise the team is struggling right now?

Everyone should realize that this season is a learning process. First comes the talent and we are more talented this year than previous years (but we still have a way to go to reach elite level). Next comes cohesion where the coach and players are all on the same page strategically. The team is obviously not there yet. Finally, There comes chemistry where the team is thinking and playing as one. The Point Guards know where the players want their passes. The defenders know who can give them support defensively and where they will be. The type of things that older, more experienced teams take for granted.

Indiana is good example of this process. Last season they made a major trade to acquire Mike Dunleavy, Troy Murphy and Ike Diogu for Stephen Jackson, Sarunas J (don't ask me to spell his last name) and Al Harrington. They changed the structure of the talent on the team. Then they hired a new coach. learned a better way for these players to operate under and now they are building chemistry. Indiana could be the surprise team of the NBA this season. Memphis is months behind Indiana right now and it showed last night.

The Grizzlies should come out of training camp with a rotation, with knowledge of how Iavaroni wants the team to play but without chemistry and until that is developed their are going to be more disappointments than victory celebration. The good news is, like Indiana showed last night, the light is there at the end of the tunnel. All we need is time and patience to reach it.


MemphisX said...

We are in for a long frustrating season and I am now in the process of dialing down my expectations now.

Lee Eric said...


Great post. Obviously, this team is a work in progress. If I'm being honest with myself, despite wanting to see them win, if we were running over people, I'd be afraid it was fool's gold. I think adversity will help this team gel.

That said, the talent is clearly there. And keep in mind that Ike hasn't settled on his lineups yet. Correct me if I'm wrong, but we still haven't seen Pau and Darko starting together. Tarance, whom we all expect big things out of, got his first real burn last night.

And at the end of the day, for whatever stock you put in preseason records (zero), we're still a .500 team, and we've been in these games at the end. It seems that if we're able to put together a solid first half, that would put us over the hump . . . or at least keep us from fighting uphill.


ChipC3 said...

Lee- Thanks for checking out the blog and you are right about Darko and Pau not starting together yet. I am not sure why but I assume it is because Darko's foul propensity makes it difficult to put him in as a starter. He averaging about a foul every 5 minutes right now.

Also Stro's being showcased in my opinion. He is being given a chance to put up or shut up. Darko's on his 3rd coach in 6 months. He is being brought along slowly and not being put under pressure.

Again these are just my opinions but I feel comfortable with them.

Lee Eric said...

Or, you mean "Stro-cased." Couldn't resist.

I think we can expect a significant jump in performance if we do just THREE things.

1. Play with energy and knock down shots in the first half.

2. Knock down free throws.

3. Oh yeah. And MAKE LAYUPS. I believe you'd have written an entirely different entry had Kyle, Conley, Brown, heck EVERYBODY just made layups in that Indiana game. You gotta make the easy baskets. Gotta.