There is no question by the time Pau Gasol was traded from the Memphis Grizzlies to the Los Angeles Lakers, a number of Grizz fans were apparently more than ready see him go. Little did any Grizzlies' fan ever think that a Gasol would be in a Grizzlies uniform at the start of 08-09 campaign (even though he was part of the trade from the Lakers). Call it madness. Call it desperation. Call it genius. The score is still out, but it is settling quickly towards Grizzlies GM, Chris Wallace, is a genius!
Evidence is the home opener against Dwight Howard and the Orlando Magic or the 27 points and 16 boards against the Golden State Warriors, or a respectable performance against Shaq and Ming. Evidence is the home opener, where Grizzlies fans gave Marc Gasol a standing ovation upon his return late in the fourth quarter and Grizzlies fans calling him the "real" Gasol.
So what is the attraction? It is definitely not finesse around the basket. It has to be a genuine work ethic and a play hard attitude. The younger Gasol flew largely under the radar and in Pau's shadow in Beijing.
The Grizzlies of the last two seasons haven't had an identity. Let's try young and scrappy as one Memphis beat reporter, Ronald Tillery, would describe for this season's squad. At least five young Grizzlies follow that mantra including, O.J. Mayo, Rudy Gay, Darrell Arthur, Kyle Lowey, and Marc Gasol.
Toss in Hakim Warrick, the elder statesman of the group, if you like who has demonstrated this scrappiness as well. The pieces are beginning to fall in place. The team still lacks a long range bomber ala Mike Miller or Juan Carlos Navarro. It is hard to imagine a season as dismal as some prognosticators predicted at the beginning of the season. Only 22 wins, come on now!! Not from a young, energetic, and scrappy bunch that has a "we hate to lose attitude." The Grizzlies, who are 3-5, return to action against the New York Knicks tonight.