Monday, December 21, 2009

Did The Grizzlies Find The Antipathy of The Allen Iverson Experiment?

The Memphis Grizzlies have started to pick up their play of late. While they're only 6-4 in their last 10, the heart, effort and togetherness that they're playing with is impressive. On Sunday afternoon the Billups-less Nuggets came in and the Grizzlies had their way with them in the first half. Even though they let the Nuggets make a comeback, remember the Grizzlies are a young team. Still, they played slightly above their talent level, which is a must.

All of this makes me think that Lionel Hollins has enabled the Grizzlies to make a positive out of the Allen Iverson negative. AI came in, wasn't committed to the team's purpose and hurt the team early on (2-8 start). But the Grizzlies came out of that with their heads up. OJ Mayo talked to NBA TV back on December 8th and said that, after AI left, the team ended their huddles saying, "one team." They honestly are as close to that as ever. The cohesion is better than it's ever been, the ball moves around and they have picked their pace up nicely.

Zach Randolph actually looks like a team player. That wasn't written in many blogs in the past. He hustles for rebounds, passes the ball and works tremendously with Marc Gasol. Randolph still must learn when to reset the offense and when to attempt a put back, but he's progressed. If he can keep doing what he did against the Nuggets (monster stats: 32 points, 24 boards), then the Grizzlies will continue their move upward.

Looking ahead at their schedule, they might struggle some. They are a mediocre 4-10 on the road and a four-game road trip is on the horizon. If their new-found antipathy of the Allen Iverson Experiment persists at home and on the road, they can at least start to fill some seats in the FedEx Forum.

I'm not saying this is a playoff team, I'm only saying this team is a team on the rise. Potential is rich on this squad and though talent is not growing on trees, a good crop season is fast approaching.


Nick Gelso said...

Nice read Alex. Great observations.

I like this Memphis team. They are young and talented and getting past the A.I. situation definitely show's that they developed into a strong/cohesive unit.