Exciting stuff is happening over for the Memphis Grizzlies and the Grizzly Bear Blues.
Coming off a Summer League championship, the young Grizzlies are looking to ride this wave to kickstart a new era of Memphis basketball. All of this is spearheaded by Jaren Jackson Jr. and Ja Morant, two uber-talented players with awesome personalities that resonate throughout the team. In addition, they have a passionate young coach in Taylor Jenkins looking to capitalize on his first head coaching gig, as well as a collection of young talent vying to prove their worth in the NBA.
Because of our bright future Grizzlies, and the infinite number of possibilities for this team, it’s generated a lot of excellent content over at Grizzly Bear Blues. As if this staff wasn’t already loaded with talent, the website has hired five new staff writers and given out two promotions.
Here’s your chance to meet a few of our new staff members and see why they want to write about your Memphis Grizzlies.
1) Tell us about yourself.
Jordan Peterson (@JordanP_901): Hi! I’m a born-and-raised Memphian. I graduated from Rhodes College in 2009 with a Political Science degree and went straight to law school at the University of Memphis. Currently, I practice Real Estate Law at AutoZone. Lucas (husband) and I live in East Memphis with our 3-year-old daughter and two dogs. I enjoy running, politics, fashion, music, coffee and of course, them Grizz.
Brendan Smart (@bsmart21): My name is Brendan Smart, I’m 23 years old, and this will be my fifth season covering the Memphis Grizzlies. I fell in love with the Memphis Grizzlies at the age of 8 (in 2003). I attended my first game Grizzlies game at the Pyramid, which was the last season they’d play there before moving to FedEx Forum. I’ve been hooked on those boys in Beale Street Blue ever since.
Greg Lubiani (@doctor_stat): Born and raised in Memphis, I grew up with an extreme love of basketball. Though I now teach Economics in Texas, I still remember going to watch Elliot Perry play in the Coliseum, then later cheering Penny in the Pyramid, and feeling the heartbreak in the Forum when Darius Washington missed the free throws. At my core, I will always be a Memphian who loves basketball.
Devin Robertson (@DevinFromThe7): I’m originally from Jackson, TN and I came to love the Grizz thanks to my dad’s Ohio roots and love for Mike Conley. Prior to that, I was a Detroit Pistons fan, because my uncle in Auburn Hills would always bring me Pistons gear when he came down for the summer. Grizz games gave me and my dad a common bond, and I’ve stuck with them ever since. I’ve stuck with them through thick and thin, and I’m ready to see where this next phase takes us.
2) Why did you want to write about the Grizzlies?
Jordan Peterson (@JordanP_901): Honestly, because it sounds like fun. Writing is something I’ve always enjoyed, especially when it intersects with my interests. Plus, I consume a lot of content and usually crave to weigh in, so now I can look forward to doing that.
Brendan Smart (@bsmart21): The reason I’ve wanted to cover the Grizzlies for so long is that I’ve wanted to help change the narrative surrounding the Grizzlies. I, for one, am not from Memphis. A lot of people outside of Memphis like to place Memphis in their own little bubble, which is not good. Living nearly two hours away from Memphis for the majority of my life, I was laughed at when asked who my favorite team was. It made me mad, because I saw such a unique team with a special culture that no one really gave, or still gives, a chance. It drives me and continues to fuel me to this day.
Greg Lubiani (@doctor_stat): Now more than ever, analytics has become a key element in sports commentary. Whether you’re a sports fan who catches highlights on TV in the morning or a die-hard following every moment of the NBA Draft, new measures of player potential and performance are thrown at you regularly. By breaking all of this down into easy-to-understand parts, I hope to enhance the enjoyment of basketball for as many people as possible.
Devin Robertson (@DevinFromThe7): I’ll take any chance I can to talk basketball and just to have the opportunity to champion my favorite team is and honor to me.
3) What makes you the most excited about this team?
Jordan Peterson (@JordanP_901): It is the first time in a while I have been able to engage in a rebuild opportunity with optimism. I tend to get spoiled with streaks of playoff runs, but the next best thing is feeling like we are heading toward those times again. Watching that process is just as educational to me as thriving.
Brendan Smart (@bsmart21): The thing that makes me most excited about this Memphis Grizzlies team is the remodel of the entire organization. This offseason Memphis experienced a positive change for the first time in nearly a decade. Landing the number two pick with only six percent odds to do so, and getting a local talent in Ja Morant out of Murray State to pair with Grizzlies forward Jaren Jackson Jr was huge. No longer staying complacent with previous accomplishments, Memphis is on track to make some noise in the next two years, and watching new front office develop this young roster into a contender makes it fun.
Greg Lubiani (@doctor_stat): The energy and enthusiasm with the young players on the roster is infectious. Ja and Jaren have yet to play a game together, and yet there is already excitement amongst the fans about how bright the future is for this franchise.
Devin Robertson (@DevinFromThe7): I’m most excited about the potential of this young team. I’ve seen the Grizzlies at their peak, and I believe this team could eventually reach levels that Grizz fans have never seen. A speedy, athletic team has never been the Grizzlies calling card. Our best player couldn’t jump over a Kraft Single, so for the Grizzlies to play a modern style of basketball is truly a game changer.
4) Who’s your favorite Grizzly player, both current and all-time?
Jordan Peterson (@JordanP_901): If you had asked me prior to Tony Allen’s arrival, I would say, unequivocally, Pau Gasol. I named my cat Pau when I was 16 and defended him against critics with ferocity. That said, Tony Allen has the all-time title. My favorite current player is Jaren - not necessarily because his ceiling is so high - but because he seems like an excellent teammate.
Brendan Smart (@bsmart21): My favorite Grizzly as of right now would have to be Jaren Jackson Jr. His personality is outstanding for a professional athlete, and you can tell that he genuinely loves the game of basketball, and is all in with Memphis. As for my all-time favorite Grizzly, that will take me back to 2003 when I attended my first Grizzly basketball game at the Pyramid. James Posey is a guy that made me fall in love with the atmosphere in Memphis. I remember yelling “POSEY” throughout the game, and watching him play all over the court. Without that first impression, I don’t know if I would be sitting here writing this.
Greg Lubiani (@doctor_stat): My favorite player of all-time has to be Tony Allen, which is funny considering that many statistical models don’t value much of what he brought to the organization. As for my favorite player currently on the roster, it’s hard to say because of how much turnover has happened in the past year. But, for now, I’ll say Jaren Jackson Jr. because of both his talent and personality.
Devin Robertson (@DevinFromThe7): Through all the hardships, Mike Conley became my favorite player. From coming off the bench for Kyle Lowry to becoming Iron Mike and Captain Clutch. I watched Conley grow to become what my dad always thought he could be.
It was great catching up with the new members of the GBB staff. Be sure to follow them and @sbngrizzlies for superb Grizzlies coverage.