After four consecutive seasons fighting in the NBA Playoffs with teeth and claws, it's fair enough to say that in Memphis is growing something special. A winning culture is already established. Grizzlies fans are starting to appear all over the world (yeah, look at me, Spaniard like our beloved Big Marc. But my Grizz passion is not new. The truth is that I've been following the Grizz journey since that moment where Battier made that epic and unforgettable 3-point shot against the Spurs to win the first playoff game ever in Grizzlies history). And every opponent in the league knows now –and fears– the Grindhouse. So when on May 6, 2014, a new grizzly bear was born in Des Moines, Iowa, nobody did anything but smile and cheer with a couple of bears, I mean beers, because the Grit & Grind was going to expand through the states.
Here is the press conference video to meet some of the Iowa Energy and Memphis Grizzlies staff, or you can get also the main idea of the Memphis-Iowa partnership with these couple of quotes:
"The synergy created through the hybrid agreement with the Memphis Grizzlies will prove extremely beneficial for both organizations. We look forward to continued success, community involvement and treating the fans to Memphis' brand of basketball on our way to multiple championships in Des Moines!" said Jed Kaplan (Grizzlies partner and also new managing partner of the Energy).
"We are excited at the opportunity for our basketball operations to partner with an NBA Development League team and believe this to be an important milestone for our franchise," Memphis Grizzlies Owner Robert Pera said. "This affiliation will further strengthen our ability to develop potential NBA talent and staff as we continue to build upon our positive culture and winning foundation here in Memphis."
It sounds cool enough to me. OK, so the new grizzly has a name, the Iowa Energy. And they play in the NBA D-League. Maybe not a lot of people care yet about the development league, but the general feeling some NBA fans have is that is going to be a much more important league in the following years. In fact, the new TV deal with the NBA –too many dollars to write the exact number and keep the writing humble– has confirmed that for the first time, beginning the 2016-2017 season, at least 20 NBA D-League games will be seen on the ESPN television networks. So yeah guys, NBA D-League is going to be a cool thing to watch too, and now that the Grizzlies and the Iowa are like family, GBB is going to provide the Iowa Energy coverage this season as well.
Some things to know about the Iowa Energy 2014-2015 season:
It's all about winning.
First and most important, the Iowa Energy team has already won a ring. They won the 2011 D-League Finals, defeating the Rio Grande Valley Vipers –that sounds pretty much like Clippers, so BRAVO Energy! It's always good to beat the something-ipers of the world– two games to one. Watch some highlights. I dare you to recognize some players, but hey, a ring it's always a ring.
The Iowa Energy play at Wells Fargo Arena, in Des Moines, Iowa. That means that 618 miles far away from Memphis, Tennessee, some young or veterans intriguing prospects with blue-collar mentality are going to play Grizzlies basketball with Energy jerseys. Maybe they will not become superstars, but ‘Believe' is always important, and who knows what type of player Memphis could find in the D-League. I mean, D-Leaguers can play too. Remember this guy, right? Nasty dunk by JJ! (Best of luck in your Toronto 2.0 adventure James Johnson).
Regular Season Schedule.
The NBA D-League regular season consists of 48 games. Officially, it will begin on Friday, November 14. The Iowa Energy will start the season playing against the Reno Bighorns (Sacramento Kings affiliated team). The D-League All-Star will be on February 13, 14, and 15. And the Playoffs will be played on April 6-30. You can check out the Iowa Energy schedule in the official page.
Roster and Head Coach.
Sure, we all wish that Jordan Adams and Jarnell Stokes have success and can manage to get a couple of minutes here and there with the Grizzlies, because what's better than playing alongside Marc, Zbo, Conley, Allen, or Vince. That's the best way to learn, no doubt about it. But you know, in case things don't work out for them at the beginning or just because of other unplanned factors happen, the Iowa Energy team should be a good spot for the young guys to get a ton of minutes and confidence, and produce some points and wins for the Energy, while learning more things about the game.
Anyway, and taking Jordan and Jarnell out of the Iowa plans (maybe they find their niche with the Memphis Grizzlies faster than we think), we will be tuned because open player tryouts for the upcoming Iowa Energy season will be taken place in Memphis on Saturday, October 11 and Des Moines on October 18. The first tryout will take place at the Hyde Gym on the Memphis University School (MUS) campus from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. In both sessions players who participate will be observed and evaluated by members of the Memphis Grizzlies and Iowa Energy basketball operations staffs.
It's time now to meet the Iowa Energy head coach, Bob Donewald:
Ok, so we already know who is going to be the head coach, also a bit about the Energy staff, the city of Des Moines, and the winning culture of the Iowa team. No worries, because we will keep learning more things about the Energy along the season goes through, that's for sure. Now we have just to wait a bit more to see what players will make the roster.
So we are almost there, one month and a week away to start the new D-League season. And as Grizzlies fans, we will have under our Grizz wings or bear paws a new group of guys eager to learn and play Memphis basketball. Exciting stuff! Moreover, I know that for a lot of you guys 82 Memphis Grizzlies regular season games aren't enough, so there you have it, 48 more games where you will see the improvement of some electrifying players.
The Grizz family keeps growing and growing. And GNG is traveling north too. So stay tuned Grizz enthusiasts. Iowa Energy basketball is coming!