As the season draws ever near, we are here to look at potential storylines to watch for in training camp as well as preseason. Expectations coming into this year should be different than what we as Grizzlies fans have had in the past. We have a new(ish) head coach, a couple of new faces expected to contribute, as well as maybe slightly different expectations on what should be considered a successful campaign.
Training camp this year will be held at the FedExForum from September 25-28, with their annual Media Day taking place Monday the 24th. With the start of camp only a week away, lets examine some of the factors that could help shape this upcoming Grizzlies season.
Bickerstaff’s first camp as Head Coach
As we all know, J.B. took over for David Fizdale mid-way through last season, finishing the campaign with a record of 15-48. The Front Office decided they liked enough of what they saw to remove the interm tag and make Bickerstaff the full-time head honcho. This will be his first training camp as the boss and his first real chance to implement his system in Memphis for an entire season, not just on the fly like last year.
The return of Mike Conley
Grizzlies point guard Mike Conley is expected to be ready for the start of training camp, after only participating in 12 games last season while dealing with a heel injury, for which he underwent surgery.
While he didn’t tear his Achilles, these injuries tend to take a lot of time to heal and there’s no guarantee he’ll be the same player he was before. Nevertheless, this will be Conley’s first taste of organized, team ball since last November. A big storyline will be to watch his progress throughout camp as the season draws near.
Integrating new arrivals
The Grizzlies look quite different than the team we saw last year. Departures include: Tyreke Evans, Ben McLemore, Deyonta Davis, Jarell Martin and Kobi Simmons. Key additions include Jaren Jackson Jr., Jevon Carter, Omri Casspi, Kyle Anderson, Garrett Temple, Yuta Watanabe and Shelvin Mack. That is quite the turnover. A big component of training camp will be finding out how all these new faces blend with Memphis’ returning players and early glimpses of what we can expect from the offense and defense.