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’ Chandler Parsons Disappointed with This Season
Memphis Grizzlies small forward Chandler Parsons will be officially gone in a matter of time, as the two sides work a trade, but Parsons isn’t exactly thrilled with how things played out this season.
Parsons was officially medically cleared to return to action back on December 21st, but he never made it to the floor.
The Grizzlies instead wanted Parsons to play in the G League, and while Parsons was willing to do it, he wanted the team to have a clear plan for his return to action in the NBA.
In the end, the Grizzlies decided that Parsons being away from the team as they hunt for a trade is the best scenario.
“I am extremely disappointed that I didn’t get to finish this season alongside my teammates and the Memphis coaching staff,” Parsons said,according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN. “Unfortunately that option wasn’t presented to me.
“The Grizzlies training staff medically cleared me to play 5-on-5 in mid-December and I have been practicing with the team ever since. I will continue to work out and train until my agent and the team reach a resolution. I am ready to play and committed to getting back on the court.”
Trading Parsons, who signed a four-year, $94.5 million max contract in 2016, won’t be easy for Memphis.
Grizzlies’ Joakim Noah Says He Was “Too Lit To Play In New York”
Memphis Grizzlies center Joakim Noah is happy to finally be back on the court, and in action, following his departure from the New York Knicks recently.
While things didn’t pan out for Noah in New York, who waived him prior to the start of the season by using the stretch provision on the remainder of his deal, Noah says he was too much for New York, believing it wasn’t a fit for him either.
“I remember after the first game (in New York) I probably had like 60 people in my house,” Noah said, according to Grind City Media’s Chris Vernon. “I’m too lit to play in New York City. Memphis is perfect for me.”
“We were lit in Chicago, but I was young. You recover faster, you know?”
Noah also discussed his departure from New York.
“It happened so fast,” Noah said. “One year I’m playing 35 minutes a game. And then injuries started piling up. I got this crazy deal with the Knicks, and then the next thing you know I’m not playing anymore. Get kicked off the team. It was a crazy time. I wasn’t sure I was gonna get an opportunity to play again.”
Noah, who has looked much better during his stint with Memphis, is glad to be playing for the Grizzlies.
“I got the call from Memphis. … I decided that this was a good fit,” Noah said. “I’m just really, really happy to be here.”
Grizzlies Signing Joakim Noah
The Memphis Grizzlies are signing veteran center Joakim Noah late next week, according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania.
The Grizzlies have engaged in “extensive discussions” with Noah, 33, since he was officially waived by the New York Knicks back in October, who stretched Noah’s $19.3 million salary for this season across three years.
Noah appeared in only 53 games over two years with the Knicks, who inked him to a four-year $72 million contract in 2016.
In a corresponding move, Memphis waived Andrew Harrison last month to create the necessary roster spot to accommodate the signing of Noah.
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