With the Rockets heading to Memphis to take on the Grizzlies tonight, we asked our friends over at Grizzly Bear Blues for a little more insight into the Southwest foe.
Thanks to Parker Fleming for participating in the discussion. You can follow him on Twitter @PAKA_FLOCKA and you can follow Grizzly Bear Blues @sbngrizzlies.
Also be sure to check out what I had to say about the Rockets here on GBB.
1. What has been the goal of the Grizzlies’ season since dealing Marc Gasol?
The goal of the Grizzlies’ season since trading Gasol is to convey their first-round pick to Boston this year. They traded this pick for Jeff Green back in 2015, and it’s coming back to bite now. It’s essentially holding the Grizzlies back from a complete rebuild, so they decided it’s best to try to convey the pick this season in hopes of having a clean slate of picks (and assets) going into the 2020’s.
2. Which young player/prospect has stepped up since JJJ’s injury?
There hasn’t really been a young player/prospect that’s stepped up since JJJ’s injury, as Ivan Rabb’s role has been inconsistent since then. However, veterans Jonas Valanciunas and Joakim Noah have stepped up big time. Valanciunas, the centerpiece of the Gasol trade, has quickly become a fan favorite here, as his style of play and consistent 20-10 production has captivated the fans. With Noah, he’s looking like the Chicago Bulls iteration of himself, serving as an energy player, a secondary playmaker, and a strong playmaker.
3. What matchup are you looking forward to the most?
I’m looking forward to the matchup of Jonas Valanciunas and Clint Capela. They both resemble two different kinds of centers -- the old-school back-to-the-basket center, and the switchable, lob-threat center. Whoever can take control of this matchup will swing the game in his team’s direction.
4. On a scale of 1-10, what is the likelihood that the Grizzlies will fire JB Bickerstaff following the end of the season?
5. Fans and media, including myself, have been very critical of JB, but he hasn’t been given much to work with in terms of personnel. Since the trade deadline, the offense has been more smooth, and the defense has regained its elite form -- aside from giving up nearly 280 points combined in the last 2 games. JB deserves a tad more time, as he’s still a young coach -- he just turned 40 years old. I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s fired, especially if there’s a front office shakeup. However, it wouldn’t surprise me if they rolled with him for one more season as well.
5. What is your prediction on how tonight will go?
The Grizzlies have shocked playoff-bound teams at home since the All-Star break, and Houston nearly dropped a game against the Suns recently (side-note: I went to that game, super cool experience). To avoid a jinx though, I got the Rockets winning 115-108.