Memphis Grizzlies fans are worrying about the season before it even begins. Things are changing, but this isn’t a reason to give up hope yet.
This preseason has been short but tortuous for Memphis Grizzlies fans.
Nerves are normal when a team goes into training camp knowing two players with guaranteed contracts won’t be on the opening day roster. It’s also typical when the starting five players is a mystery. Fans don’t like it when a team is attempting to radically change their culture. Memphis is going through all three scenarios this year.
On top of that, this is the shortest training camp and pre-season since the team moved to town, and fans are getting anxious — if not downright depressed.
Stay Calm. Don’t worry? How can we do this, you ask?
It’s simple. Pre-season doesn’t mean a lot when it comes to regular season performance.
It was disappointing to be beaten down by Houston on national TV, but remember the score was tied at 63 in the 3rd quarter. The Rockets outscored the Grizzlies 38-26 From that point on.
Still don’t worry.
Houston paraded out their starters plus Eric Gordon, PJ Tucker and Luc Mbah a Moute. The Grizzlies countered with 5 players fighting for the last three spots on the bench.
Fizdale used the pre-season to determine roster spots. I’m still not sure what Mike D’Antoni was trying to do playing his top players for most of the game. The top eight players played 22 or more minutes for Houston. Marc Gasol was the only Grizzlies regular to log as many as 24 minutes.
Tonight’s game will be the worst example of NBA basketball the fans should see all season. Neither squad is going to risk their best players getting hurt five days before the season opens. Neither coach will reveal anything that could be used against them on opening night either.
So don’t get worried about this either!
Why you shouldn’t worry
There are a lot of things Memphis Grizzlies fans can feel good about. The team returns four of last season’s starters, and the only one missing played the fewest minutes among them. The team is younger, faster and should be a more exciting team on the court.
Chandler Parsons has returned, and while still not clearly on top of his game, he has nowhere to go but up from last season’s performance. Mario Chalmers is back. Former Tiger Tyreke Evans is now a Grizzlies player and should provide more ball-handling and playmaking on the wings as well.
Andrew Harrison and Wade Baldwin are both a year older and more experienced in what David Fizdale expects from his floor generals. The rookies, while probably spending the majority of their time in the G League, show promise.
I have never seen a team complain about their pre-season record at the end of the playoffs. That’s because these games don’t matter for anyone but the coaches and borderline players.
Now it means a lot to both of them.
Coach Fizdale is experimenting with lineups. He’s not becoming complacent about what works. He’s searching for possibly new strategies and making decisions about who will be on this team and what this year’s Grizzlies will become.
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Unfortunately we won’t know those decisions for a few more days. Monday is the Memphis Grizzlies’ Annual Tip-Off Luncheon at FedEx Forum, where fans get an opportunity to meet the new team. That’s when things get real for the fans.
So take it easy for now. None of this is real. It doesn’t get real until Wednesday night’s home opener.
That’s when the worrying part of the season begins.