Memphis Grizzlies new head coach J.B. Bickerstaff has some work to do if he wants to turn things around for the Grizzlies this season, and spoke about the team, as well as the 2018-2019 season, during an interview with The Commercial Appeal’s Mark Giannotto.
Bickerstaff talked about what the team’s strengths were heading into the season, and what people can expect from the Grizzlies’ offense moving forward.
“IQ and intelligence” Bickerstaff said. “We got a bunch of guys that know how to think the game and if you can think the game, you can make up for some of the things that we lack. If you look at our team, and I hope this doesn’t offend any of our guys, we’re not the fastest of teams. But we have to be able to use our brains to put us in spots so that we can defend well and score the ball because we’re always one or two steps ahead of our opponent.”
“We’re going to be a completely different team than you guys saw at the end of last season” Bickerstaff continued.
“Our front office and ownership group have done a great job bringing in different players with different skill sets that kind of fit the theme and the direction that we’re heading in. We’re not as young as we used to be. We’ve brought in some proven, veteran guys like Kyle Anderson, Garrett Temple, Shelvin Mack, those type of guys, who can accentuate what Marc (Gasol) can do.”
“We’ve been preaching playing a unique style of basketball. Obviously, not reinventing the wheel but playing a game where size, physicality and toughness prevails. I think we’re fortunate that we have some big guys, some long guys, that are very skilled as well, so that they can do both… So we’re fortunate to have guys that can do those things, so that’s where we’re headed. Our guys are excited about it in the conversations we’ve had with them and I think we’re built for it.”
Bickerstaff also discussed the role of Kyle Anderson, as well as the health of Mike Conley and Chandler Parsons.
“He’ll be used at his strengths, which is versatility” Bickerstaff said of Anderson.
“He can play multiple positions. He can impact the game on both sides of the floor. I’ve been impressed, just going back and watching him and seeing him, is just how smart he is and how easily he thinks the game. Very rarely do you find him in the wrong spot, offensively or defensively, and he’s always doing something to help his teammates. I think guys like that are invaluable and his ability to play one through four, you can throw him on the floor at any position.”
There’s no doubt about it. Mike’s been playing pick up, those types of things. Chandler (Parsons) been playing pick up … For the first time in a long time, we’re looking at walking into training camp with healthy bodies and healthy, high caliber players. Not just guys who would be your 13th or 14th man. We’ve got our studs healthy, which we’re looking forward to.”
Bickerstaff also believes that the bench will be better this season.
“The key in all of this is having some experience when you’re trying to win like we’re trying to do. So having guys that have proven they can play in this league, they’re not second guessing themselves, and every single night, from a coaching standpoint, you know what you’re going to get out of guys, is huge… Not to take anything away from our young guys that were here with us last year, they were competing. They were giving it everything they had. They worked hard at it. But again, when you’re young, there’s always those ups and downs and you’re battling that inconsistency.”
Grizzlies Waive Andrew Harrison
The Memphis Grizzlies have waived guard Andrew Harrison who will become an unrestricted free agent if no team puts in a claim on him by Sunday, according to an official press release issued by the team on Thursday.
Harrison, 24, has been backing up point guard Mike Conley during his stint in Memphis, but has since fallen out of the rotation due to a healthy Conley and the addition of Shelvin Mack, who has become the primary backup point guard, as well as rookie Jevon Carter.
Grizzlies’ Jaren Jackson Jr. to Be Eased Into Rotation
The Memphis Grizzlies will take a patient approach when the assimilate rookie Jaren Jackson Jr. into the team’s rotation this upcoming season, and will be cautious with bringing along their 18-year old prized draft pick.
Grizzlies Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations John Hollinger outlined the teams approach when it comes to Jackson.
“I think whatever happens, we want it to happen organically, and not get ahead of ourselves, and make sure we’re taking all the right steps on him, and not getting too excited and skipping ahead” Hollinger said, according to Peter Edmiston of the Memphis Commercial Appeal.
Jackson Jr showed promise during Summer League play, posting 11.2 points per game, 8.2 rebounds per game, and 3.8 blocks per game, but he will need to develop his frame to be able to handle the wear, tear, and physicality of an NBA season.
Kings Trade Garrett Temple to Grizzlies for Ben McLemore, Deyonta Davis
The Sacramento Kings and the Memphis Grizzlies are completing a trade that will send guard Garrett Temple to Memphis for guard Ben McLemore, forward Deyonta Davis, cash, and a 2021 second round draft pick, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
Temple, 32, averaged 8.4 points in 25 minutes a game for the Kings last season and will provide Memphis with a veteran wing moving forward.
Additionally, the deal clears an additional an additional $1 million in salary cap space for the Kings, who now have $20.5 million.
McLemore returns to the Kings, where he was the seventh overall pick in the 2013 NBA draft.
Davis, 21, has struggled to crack the rotation in Memphis.
The teams are setting up a trade call with the league office on Tuesday to make the deal official.
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