Honestly, without access it's really difficult to know how the Memphis Grizzlies training camp went. Last year, for example, there was no bad news about Allen Iverson acting out until after the fiasco ended. Last year DeMarre Carroll and Hasheem Thabeet supposedly looked solid. Unless you can get a microphone on Coach Lionel Hollins, chances are you're listening through a feeder.
Still, it's worth looking over what the Commercial Appeal had to say about this year's camps.
Day 1 was supposedly all about defense, with Tony Allen making a big splash by shutting down Xavier Henry. Tillery wrote:
Henry attempted to use screens to break free for an open shot -- and some air, for that matter. But a dogged Allen stayed with Henry stride for stride, arm in arm, and with the benefit of a shove or two.
"I fouled him a couple of times," Allen said unapologetically. "I was just welcoming him to his first training camp. He's going to have to deal with that all week."
Good to hear, but we shouldn't be surprised. Tony Allen left Kobe Bryant struggling to get a half-decent look last year on more than one occasion. He's one of the best lockdown guys in the league on opposing shooting guards, and more than holds his own at small forward at all. Also he's reinvented himself into a high-character player in the past couple years; it's good to know that mentality should stick in Memphis.
Day 2 gave us an interesting feature on DeMarre Carroll and Darrell Arthur, who both need to play much better to fulfill their first round status and to get the Grizzlies bench to perform like a playoff bench. This was really the only new bit of info, though:
Arthur has completely recovered from a torn pectoral muscle that cost him 50 games last season. Carroll, meanwhile, has this working for him: The coaching staff has decided that he is a small forward.
Stretch power forwards have to be able to shoot to make up for their lackluster defense. Carroll can't shoot. Good to hear he'll be spotting up against 3's this year, though I question if he's got the footspeed to keep up and he might be too big of an offensive drain.
Day 3's feature was on Xavier Henry, this year's 12th overall pick who looks to add some size to the backcourt when spelling O.J. Mayo. Here's what Tony Allen had to say:
"He's NBA ready [...] He's pretty skilled and highly talented. He can shoot, score, defend and make plays. He's aggressive at all times, and that's the key to him being successful right now."
From the sounds of the article Henry didn't take a day off even despite the contract questions, and lots of his training was with O.J. Mayo and the core of the Oklahoma City Thunder -- Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. Definitely good company for Xavier.
Yesterday's practice was open to the public and was supposedly so ugly that even Tillery couldn't shy away from depicting it as anything but poor. The only real news is that Hamed Haddadi is still held up on border issues, and that Greivis Vasquez is apparently about 2 weeks from returning to practice.
Finally, today's article focused on Mike Conley, and especially his questionable future with the franchise. Tillery didn't shy away from controversy here:
All-Star forward Zach Randolph, center Marc Gasol and Conley are on tap this season, while guard O.J. Mayo will be eligible for a contract extension next fall.
Conley is perceived as the weakest link -- a label he's determined to shed this season.
Well, we know we got the full scoop on that one at least.
Pre-season opens tomorrow against the Indiana Pacers at the FedEx Forum, and that's the only way you'll see it. The game won't be broadcast, even on local television.