The Memphis Grizzlies are back in action in FedExForum on Sunday afternoon as they welcome the Brooklyn Nets to town after a 110-102 loss to the Chicago Bulls on Friday night.
The Nets are coming off a 113-109 win against the New York Knicks.
The Grizzlies once again showed both great potential as well as inexperience in their performance against the Bulls. It was a game in which the Grizzlies had a solid lead throughout most of the game and exhibited great composure, skill, and improvements on problems that plagued them in Miami. 3 point shooting was improved, Jonas looked significantly better in his limited time, and the team as a whole even cut down on fouls (except Dillon).
Then the fourth quarter happened.
This feels familiar.
It’s one thing to say “this is a young team” but it is another thing entirely to watch the actual growing pains associated with a young team.
While late game missteps may or may not become a trend with this team this year, it’s important when evaluating this team and these players to look at the entire body of work and look at both where they need to improve, and how they improve.
Struggle with the three in Miami? Improvement in the next game.
Jonas is rusty? Improvement in the next game.
Foul trouble? Improvement in the next game.
Losses suck, but progress towards being the caliber of both individual player and team was achieved.
Sweet, sweet progress. Sweet…. slow…. painstaking progress.
A win would be nice though, right?
The Grizzlies hope to get their first win of the season on Sunday against the Brooklyn Nets, and ladies and gentlemen, it’s time for me to pull the curtain back a little here.
I live in Northeast Mississippi, and where I live was recently hit with some really bad storms and high winds. I’m alright, but the damage has caused my power to be knocked out for what I’ve been told will be at least a couple days. I say this to say that this preview will lack a level of research into the current Brooklyn Nets team, and for that I apologize.
However, with what this preview lacks in research, I hope to include a plea for a level of patience for this season, no matter how frustrating it may be.
Last year, Jaren Jackson Jr. was the hyped rookie on a Grizzlies team that was off to a surprisingly good start to the year. Jaren himself was having a solid year, some good games, some decent games, and some games where he showed where he needed improvement.
But he hadn’t yet had “that” game.
The one where officially he showed that he was the undisputed future. The one where he showed his worth. The one where he officially arrived.
Then the Grizzlies went to Brooklyn, New York.
Memphis was down multiple possessions with not a lot of time left. Several teams may have packed it in and called it a day at the point where the Grizzlies were at. Heck, even the Grizzlies may have packed it in on that very night and given up. But one player who had not even come close to that was Jaren.
Three+1, turnover on the other end, and another three.
The Grizzlies went on to win that game in overtime, and it wouldn’t have been possible without Jaren showing out and having the game where he showed the world who he is and what he can be — the game where Jaren Jackson Jr broke out and officially arrived.
It’s moments like these that cannot be taken for granted. We all know how the season was last year, needless to say there wasn’t a lot to be excited about, especially towards the end.
But there were moments that gave us hope and excitement in what we’re seeing and what we could see in the future.
That opening stretch of winning games, a step back three over Lebron James by Jaren, a shamgod by Omri Casspi of all people, and especially that game in Brooklyn.
The question for Sunday is, can the Grizzlies give their fans a glimmer of hope against the very team that hosted the arrival of the future of Grizzlies basketball last year? Can another young player take that step and break out the same way Jaren did last year against Brooklyn? Could Ja Morant take the challenge straight to new Nets superstar point guard Kyrie Irving and show that he’s the future? Could Brandon Clarke demand the spotlight? Could history repeat itself with a Jaren Jackson Jr showcase?
The answer? I’d argue it’s all in the progress.
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