The Memphis Grizzlies played at the second slowest pace in the league last season, which makes sense when you consider they want to run the offense through big men Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph. With their defense and style, the Grizzlies want to grind you down.
With former assistant coach Dave Joerger taking over, expect more of the same, right?
Actually, the Grizzlies want to run a little more, Gasol told ESPN.com.
“Coach Joerger has been there for six years,” Gasol told ESPN.com on Wednesday. “He knows us pretty well. He knows how we play. He knows us personally, how we like to play basketball. He, of course, wants to push the tempo, which has been a problem for us, getting up and down the floor to score easy buckets. Because when you always go inside, everybody collapses on you in the paint and it’s hard to operate down there.
“He’s going to push the tempo and have a lot of plays from his pocket that he’s told me [about]. And I’m excited about next season.”
This time of year every coach gets ready for camp saying he wants to run more. Every one. High school on up. Joerger is no exception; he would love for his team to get a few more easy buckets in transition. What would be good for Memphis (and something Joerger has talked about) is getting the ball up the court faster so the team can get in its sets earlier, giving it more time to explore options in the offense.
But the reality is these Grizzlies look a lot like last year’s Grizzlies (unless you think Mike Miller is actually going to play 80 games… go ahead and bet on that). And that means slow and grinding, with a suffocating defense. That’s what they should do. But if they can move a little quicker (and get a little more outside shooting) it could work.
Billy Donovan was given the head coaching job in Oklahoma City to bring their offense into modern times — and it seems to be working, Russell Westbrook said he feels a lot more space in the system.
But if the Thunder are going to contend for a title, they need a top 10 defense as well — and to do that Donovan is going to keep a Scott Brooks move and continue to start Andre Roberson and Steven Adams. Check out the starting lineup for their first preseason game Wednesday.
There also was this report via Anthony Slater in the Oklahoman yesterday about a scrimmage at practice.
Durant, Russell Westbrook, Serge Ibaka and Andre Roberson all started for the White team. Nick Collison joined them, but that was only because Steven Adams sat out with back soreness….
Donovan said the teams weren’t split by accident. That’s how they’ve been divided in practice. So at this point, it seems Roberson is this team’s starting shooting guard and Adams is the team’s starting center.
This is the smart move. Last season the lineup of Westbrook, Roberson, Durant, Ibaka and Adams was +13.4 points per 100 possessions over their opponents. Roberson and Adams are there for defense — neither brings much offensive game to the floor, but when you have Westbrook and Durant and only one ball between them, you don’t need more offensive threats. You’re going to get plenty of points.
If they can just stay healthy, Oklahoma City is a team to be feared.
The Hall of Fame player behind the original iron man streak is with us no more.
Knicks’ legend Harry Gallatin passes away at age 88, the team confirmed Wednesday.
Gallatin led the Knicks of the late 1940s and into the 1950s, when he set a then record playing in 610 consecutive games. Nicknamed “The Horse,” he was a beast on the boards who averaged 15.3 rebounds a game one season and averaged 11.9 boards and 13 points per game over the course of his 10-year career. He’s still fourth all time in total rebounds in Knicks franchise history.
Gallatin was a seven-time All-Star and twice All-NBA selection. After his playing days, he spent many years as the athletic director at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville.
Our thoughts are with his family and friends.