The Grizzlies fell to the Bulls in St. Louis by a considerable margin. The score was never close after halftime, but there's some good tidbits to takeaway from the game. (I apologize for lack of statistical analysis, but I don't think there are box score stats available for this game. Wah wah waaaah.)
- First off, Tony Allen, Marc Gasol, Tayshaun Prince and Quincy Pondexter didn't touch the court. Our starting five consisted of Conley, Bayless, Miller, Randolph and Koufos.
- The increased pace, we're going to call it the Joerger Pace for this season, was very evident from tip-off. I'm not sure if the shot clock ever reached 20 before the Grizzlies (starters) were up court and into a set.
- This team is going to hustle. The energy and effort is palpable, as it should always be with the Grizzlies. You could see it tail off in the second quarter but, c'mon, it's preseason. Miller was probably the last to pull up, effort-wise, and he consistently dove for loose balls during most of his time tonight.
- Nick Calathes could very well be the real deal. Without a doubt, he is an improvement over Tony Wroten as a potential backup PG. He looked very comfortable, although he definitely had his share of mistakes. But one of the greatest improvements over what Wroten offered is that Calathes can finish at the basket. Point Blank: he looks good at least 70% of the time, whereas Wroten looked good for 20% of the time, at most.
- Oh Jerryd Bayless, I was on a podcast earlier tonight, talking about how you weren't afraid to let it fly. (Consider that statement validated). You're quite the berserker sometimes and if we can balance that aggression and decision making, I think you'll play an important role this season. As in a positive important role, and not a role where you go 2/9 from three point range. (stats estimated)
- Jon Leuer is an NBA basketball player. I really feel like he could be the most underrated Grizzly going into the 2013-14 season. He's got size, and moves very well with that size. He has the girth to bang down low (TWSS?), and the agility and ball handling skills to operate out on the perimeter (also TWSS?). He has Marc Gasol Syndrome, where he doesn't want to be the first to shoot, but dammit, he's got to shoot it, because he's got incredibly solid form and release.
- As Trisity tweeted during the game, ZBo looks spry. (a la pre-MCL-injury 2011-12 form)
- I think I understand why Josh Akognon was waived. There's some decent talent at the bottom of the Grizzlies training camp roster. They're mostly pretty raw, but it's going to be an interesting battle for those last couple of roster spots.
- Ed Davis looks bigger, stronger and more confident. His frame isn't transformed, but the man looks slightly more solid that he did last season. His shooting from the free throw line and from outside the paint looks like it might be considerably improved, as well.
There's still so very far to go, both in terms of the Grizzlies development and in the revelation of the season (and preseason). We were working with a fairly limited lineup tonight, so there will be plenty to analyze and we play the next few games. The timing and rhythm still needs to be honed, but oh boy, I have a feeling this is going to be a very fun season. This team is flying.