One of the best moves the Grizzlies made this offseason was offering up a 2-year guaranteed deal to Darrell Arthur, even after he missed the entire 2011-12 season due to injury.
Arthur is a young, athletic big filled with talent, but also prone to injury -- sadly enough. But, in this case, it would seem as if the promise outweighs the problem. And, already, we're seeing signs of life from a key player off our bench.
Over his short career, Arthur has battled ankle problems and a leg fracture, and even now he continues to feel some pain in the leg that took an entire season away from him. The good news is, though, from one day to the next, Arthur continues to improve not only his game, but the strength and stamina he had lost.
Speaking with Ron Tillery of the Commercial Appeal, Arthur spoke of his journey and rehabilitation, saying:
"Sometimes my legs are little sore after the games. But that's just from me not playing a lot," Arthur said. "I'm coming along. It's a slow process, but I'll just keep working through it. My thing is if I don't have anything going offensively then I'm definitely going to play great defense. I feel like I'm doing OK. It's good to be back on the court."
I think it's safe to say he's doing more than just "OK" out there on the basketball court, considering. And head coach Lionel Hollins would second that notion.
"Darrell's had more positive games than he has had negative games," Hollins said. "He's shot the ball well most of the games but he brings all of the other stuff — energy, offensive rebounds and a blocked shot here and there."It hasn't been continual upward progress. But he helps us with his agility. His second, third and fourth effort is awesome. Whatever he gives us for that particular night is all good. It's all been positive."
And with the struggles of Wayne Ellington and Marreese Speights, it's been much-needed hustle on both ends of the court from Arthur that has made this team remain above water when the second unit is out there.
It's going to be some time before we see Arthur's potential fully realized, but as long as he continues to grind out there, I think the potential will catch up to the actual sooner than later.