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?
“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.