Well 2014 NBA preseason, it is time to bid you adieu. It's been surreal and fun and a nice little primer for what is to come. Kyrie Irving has been awesome, LeBron James has been awesome while coasting, Kevin Love has been great and been okay, and Tristan Thompson and Anderson Varejao have been just fine. The team has one more game in Memphis to get things in order before a full week of practice heading into the start of the season. LeBron James will not play. I'm guessing everyone else is a go. The Memphis Grizzlies are a good team, and it presents itself as a true road challenge. Let's get to it.
The Memphis Grizzlies are one of my favorite teams in the whole league. They have a deep bond with the city in which they play. Mike Conley and I were both freshman at Ohio State in 2006-2007. On Monday and Wednesday mornings we would usually ride the same bus to different classes. I'd usually sit next to him if I could, but never actually said hello. Except for once. It was a February Monday following a road win for the Buckeyes up in East Lansing. Conley had been particularly good, and if my memory is right, he made a crucial layup or something similar. I had gone up to East Lansing with my roommate to see another friend who went to school there and catch the game. It isn't easy to win at the Breslin Center, and Conley was tremendous as a freshman.
So Monday morning I sat next to Conley. He had big headphones on as his general plea to leave him the hell alone. I don't blame him at all for that, of course. But I couldn't help it and I nudged him a little bit to try and get his attention. He couldn't hide a minor hint of annoyance crossing his face, but he pulled his headphones off.
"Hey, I went up to East Lansing this weekend."
"Yeah, you played really well. It was really fun to watch."
"Thanks man, appreciate you going up there."
Outside of probably Kyrie Irving, Tristan Thompson, I'm hoping Kevin Love, and Brian Roberts (who, BREAKING, went to my high school), Conley is my favorite player in the league. He's smart, he's fast, he finishes, he defends. When many thought he might end up as an NBA bust, he kept working and has become a very valuable point guard. He's a huge part of what Memphis does, and Memphis has been really good.
The Cleveland Cavaliers probably want to find a way to get Kevin Love and Dion Waiters going. Irving and Love need to develop some chemistry. Tonight is another opportunity to get better. I'm not sure how many minutes these guys will play, but I'm glad the preseason is over. This team, more than most, needs practice time. David Blatt will make his mark on the team, but he needs time. After tonight hopefully he can really get to work.
Fear the Sword's fearless prediction: I really don't care who wins. Waiters goes off, Cavs win 93-82.