Remember last season when smart basketball people were actually predicting that the Memphis Grizzlies would make the NBA Finals? Yeah, that didn’t turn out so well, but it’s not like they were just making uneducated guesses. In a league where it’s all about speed nowadays (well, and whoever has LeBron James), the Grizzlies are a throwback team with solid post players, but with a decent set of athletes on the perimeter to compliment them. They are an “inside out” team and they missed a good chunk of that last season when Zach Randolph was out with an injury and struggled to acclimate himself with the team.
This year the Grizzlies will have a healthy team from the start, which is rare, but they will be without shooting guard O.J. Mayo, who left to sign with the Dallas Mavericks. It won’t be easy replicating his scoring off the bench, not to mention his impressive set of Nike player exclusives. But a hopefully healthy Rudy Gay will pick up the slack in that department, as will emerging point guard Mike Conley, the legend that is Tony Allen and mini-Twin Towers (in height) in Marc Gasol and Z-Bo.
The New Juice
Player: Wayne Ellington (Nike)
The Grizzlies plan on replacing Mayo’s scoring off the bench by using a committee of Jerryd Bayless, Tony Wroten and Wayne Ellington. After three nondescript years in the Minnesota, Ellington hopes his stay with Le Grizz will be a lot more productive and not in line with every other highly North Carolina Tar Heel prospect that has come out of college since 1998 not named Ty Lawson. Sean May and Rashad McCants say hello…
If Ellington is going to go down, at least he’ll go down swinging with some heat on his feet. For Media Day, Ellington brought back the 2006 Air Jordan IV “Mist Blue” and has been rocking the Nike Zoom Soldier 6 in the preseason. If Ellington proves to be a productive player for the team, expect to see him on our upcoming NBA Kicks in-season reports.