Growl towels up if you're ready for Grizzness. I'm ready to shiver and complain in the hand-wand line and get startled by some pyrotechnics. It's been too long. Make room in the cupboard for some new souvenir cups because the NBA regular season is here. Finally.
I've upped my dosage of sports takes in anticipation of the firehose of of basketball news and analysis I'll be consuming. Podcasts. Websites. Vines. Periscopes. Whatever. Give me all of it. I welcome our new digital overlords at Grind City Media. Some media members have groused about access and message control, which is very noble of them. Here's the thing though: Consumers don't care where the content comes from, as long as it's hot. The Grizzlies recognize that, and the fans will eat it up. Adrian Wojnarowski is the most connected and trusted basketball writer in the country, and he works for your grandma's email service provider. The Salt Lake Tribune's Jazz reporter broke a story about the Grizzlies' roster over the weekend. Don't hate the player, hate the game. And pass the content.
Anyway, the Core Four is back. They may or may not be "better than ever," but at least they aren't all sporting the dreaded "suits and boots" uniforms on the bench. Marc Gasol logged the third-highest number of minutes last season but only appeared in 52 games — four more than Mike Conley. By March, I was convinced the roster existed for the purpose of stumping sports trivia players. Matt Barnes — yeah, that Matt Barnes — played more than anybody, and I forgot he was even on the team. Remember Bryce Cotton? I don't, but Basketball Reference says he played six minutes for the Grizzlies last season. Former Tiger Elliot Williams scored eight points. Jordan Farmar was the starting point guard in the playoffs. Much ink has been spilled over the unprecedented number of players who dressed out in the home locker room at 191 Beale. I'm proud of all of them, but let's just say those games won't be airing on Hardwood Classics anytime soon.
Offseason additions to the team appear to be solid NBA-caliber players. One of them, allegedly, is capable of scoring three-point baskets with a frequency to which Grizzlies fans are unaccustomed. I'm optimistic even if it means I have to reprogram my allegiances after years of hating Chandler Parsons. At least the reasons are purely basketball-related, because he routinely torched the Grizzlies and made me resent the fact that they never had an answer for him. (Again, don't hate the player.) I'm not proud of some of the things I've said about him, such as the time I called him "ole lululemon tights looking faceass." Or the time I tweeted that he "looks like a guy who spends at least 15 minutes a day practicing sexy faces and flexing in front of a mirror." But I'm ready to take it all back. Hopefully, he can get and stay healthy and hit some of the same shots that made me hate his guts. Also, I acknowledge that compression apparel improves circulation, and I can't fault a man for knowing he looks good. If you can't beat 'em, sign 'em.
Not only are there new free agents, there are rookies too! Including the coach, who might actually be an upgrade over the previous coach. Look, Joerger did a fine job, and he's a good coach. He had a couple of inexplicable pet players, but it isn't as though he had a ton of stars to hitch to that wagon last season. Like everyone else, I was surprised when he was fired, but if he doesn't want to be here, well, bye. Memphis ain't for everybody.
From the interviews I've seen and read, David Fizdale appears to have measured the pulse of the team and the city pretty quickly. A place like Memphis, with all its nuances, is a good fit for the wokest coach in the NBA. Supposedly, he develops players, so maybe we'll get to see some young dudes used for purposes other than trade bait. If he can implement his harebrained ideas, we'll be in for some fun, weird basketball, just how we like it. Marc Gasol shooting threes? Well, okay. Tony Allen, backup point guard? Ya crazy for this one, Fizz.
I love the clean-slate, first-day-of-school vibe of a new season. It really feels like this is the year. It's become so much more reliable over the past few years, and I just have a hunch Grizzlies fans are going to enjoy 48 consistent minutes every night of working wifi in FedExForum.
Oh, did you think I was talking about something else?
Jen Clarke has a few ideas. Read them at jensized.com