The Memphis Grizzlies are one of the best teams heading into the 2013-2014 NBA season that no one is really talking about. Despite making it to the Western Conference Finals last season and then improving their roster this summer, there have been multiple occasions where I’ve heard people listing the top teams in the West and forget about the Grizzlies.
Part of the reason that no one really remembers or talks about the Grizzlies, though, is the simple fact that they kind of want it that way. They have made a living by standing by their grit-and-grind motto and by succeeding with a blue-collar style of play in lieu of being flashy and memorable.
Arguably the most important piece of their team and their success has been and will be their center Marc Gasol. Gasol is the reigning Defensive Player of the Year in the league, but also is a catalyst for their offense with his scoring as well as his interior passing. Without Gasol, this team would not be near as good as they have been.
Because of the importance of Gasol, the Grizzlies are taking no chances. After Gasol spent a good part of the summer playing internationally, including competing in Eurobasket 2013 with Spain, he has a lot of work on his body from the off-season. Subsequently, the Grizzlies have left Gasol on the sidelines in their first two preseason games, allowing him to recover from the summer and get some juice back.
The Grizzlies are proving their wisdom by keeping Gasol out. I’m sure we’ll see him in limited action at some point in the preseason, but they want him at full health for the regular season and are ensuring that happens. They recognize the importance of their center and are protecting that which you have to respect, even if it means having to wait a few more weeks to see Gasol in action.