Sports & Culture Media

Grizzlies Pre Game


On the starting lineup:

“Yeah, I’m going to hold that one to my vest a little bit here. I don’t think we have to release that until the 30-minute mark, but we’re excited about the five that we will put out there. I’m excited about the depth that we have on this team and hopefully we start off on a good foot tonight.”

On the various lineups used during preseason:

“You know, we mixed it up here and there, game and game, but I loved a lot of the chemistry we saw from the starting unit, and the group coming off the bench as well. Small sample size, but very encouraging signs. I love how we continued to play unselfishly on the offensive end. The versatility we have on the defensive end as well, it’s going to be great. A lot of guys are going to get different opportunities. Early in the season we’ll see how the rotations play out. I don’t expect for everything to be solidified game-to-game, so I have a lot of guys fighting for these positions, and that can impact the game.”

On how to prepare for Game 1:

“I think we treat Game 1 like we do [Game] 82. Obviously, we have some data on Cleveland – a little bit from last year that we have poured into – and getting a little bit of their preseason [film]. But, you can’t take too much stock in preseason because every team is trying something different, finding their own chemistry. At the end of the day, it is always about us. So, it’s that healthy balance of – ‘What are our priorities, Grizzlies?’ It doesn’t matter who we’re playing. Then, we appropriately respect our opponent and understand what we have to dive in personnel-wise, set-wise, coverage-wise and adjustment-wise. Make sure our guys are prepared so that when we go out there, they’re doing what we do on a nightly basis, but we’re always prepared for our opponent.”

On playing the first home game of the season:

“Just the energy in the building from the crowd. It just sets the tone. Obviously, it’s great being here. This is our first true, in my experience, first true home opener Game 1. My first season I think it was Game 2, and then last season obviously, with COVID, we didn’t have a packed house. So, it just sets the tone, the excitement that I always talk about over the course of the offseason, and you feel that from the fans. Then for the team it’s just setting the tone for what you can continue to build on. We’re not going to be a finished product night one, but obviously all of the work that they’ve put in the offseason and the preseason gets you to this point. So, I’m excited to see what we’ve got, where we’ve got to build from there, and all of the good and what we’ve got to improve on.”

On the Grizzlies having a losing record in home openers:

“Rest assured our guys are hungry. The results will be the results. Obviously, we play every game to win. History is history, and all we can focus on is tonight’s opportunity in history. So, hopefully our guys are going to go out there and compete as we need to – and play together as we need to – and hopefully it ends our way.”

On any differences saw between the Cavaliers film last season vs. this preseason:

“A couple of minor differences. A couple of different sets that the Cavs are going to utilize. Some of their new personnel, obviously, [Ricky] Rubio and [Evan] Mobley. Obviously those guys are going to add a different dynamic there. You know, I don’t think we saw [Collin] Sexton and [Darius] Garland last year. So, the points of emphasis going into tonight’s game are going to be a little different than last years. Obviously, [Kevin] Love is a big time off the bench. [Lauri] Markkanen is a big time impact off the bench. So, kind of looked at preseason film a little bit more for different combinations. However, we expect this team to be, obviously offensively, a driving force. Literally trying to get downhill, playing the paint, establishing their offense through the inside-out. And defensively, the Cavs are going to play with a physical tone. They’re going to be physical on the ball. They’re big, long. We felt that last year. It was a grind it out affair both times we played them, so I wouldn’t expect anything less tonight.”

On preparing the rookies for the game:

“Just day–by-day. Not trying to inundate them with too much. We were fortunate this season to actually have a Summer League, and offseason program, where the guys could come in. They were able to kind of get up to speed on – ‘what are we about here with the Grizzlies?’ Then learn the terminology, learning their teammates. Obviously, getting that exposure over the last couple of weeks has been big. We’re really just trying to take it one day at a time and learn about them a lot. As much as we want to get them on the same page as who we are as the Memphis Grizzlies, we want to learn what is Ziaire [Williams] going to bring to the table? What is Santi [Aldama] going to bring to the table? What is Yves [Pons] going to bring to the table? Learn more about them. I obviously loved what I saw from those guys in the preseason – and it just kind of continues to allow us to build a plan for each one of those guys to, hopefully in the long-term, help us win ballgames.”

Tyler Butler