Kicking Off a New Season
The season is about to begin, and I have a really good feeling about our team. We have a really deep squad. There are a lot of guys on this roster who can do a lot of different things. This last month was designed to get everybody acquainted, and I think it’s going to be an exciting season ahead.
Our expectation for this season is just to win. I’m not going to make any predictions about going to the NBA Finals or the Western Conference Finals. We just expect to win and be successful this season. Hopefully, we’re able to duplicate last season or even go farther if everything goes well. We know when we’re clicking how good we can be. I’m really looking forward to the future of this franchise.
One thing that’s going to help us a lot is that our nucleus is still in place. Going to a new team is not always an easy transition for the guy coming in or the guys that are trying to incorporate him. We don’t have much of that this year. We have a really great group of guys.
The new guys we have added look to be great additions to our core. Mike Miller is going to help us a lot. Mike is not only a great basketball player, but he’s a great person. His presence alone is something that a lot of us can learn from, and he’s been to the point the last two years that the rest of us want to get to.
Adding Mike and Tayshaun in the last year has added a lot of knowledge, and there’s definitely a calmness about them that helps this team. They’re really going to be beneficial to us over this full season. They’re two guys that say the things that need to be said at the times they need to be said. Neither of them is a guy who is going to be always screaming or saying stuff just to say it. So when they do say something, everybody listens because we know it’s very important. I’m really excited they’re both here.
With Mike, Tayshaun and Tony Allen, we have three guys who have won championships, and I think that’s invaluable. They’ve been there. They’ve done it. And they can all help the rest of us try to get there.
GETTING TO KNOW COACH DAVE
Our new head coach, Dave Joerger, is a phenomenal basketball mind. The way he has put his imprint on this team from day one is definitely going to benefit us. The thing I’ve liked most about Dave since he took over is that he hasn’t changed as a person. He’s been the same guy he was as an assistant.
That’s not to say that all coaches change when they become a head coach. But it’s a big adjustment. Because of that, the mindset can change, and sometimes, that’s just part of the process. But to Dave’s credit, he’s stayed the same. He’s not really a big screamer or anything like that. He’s even keel and has so much positivity going into the season, which is important.
He can be hard on us, but it’s never in a negative way. All players love to play for a guy like that. We all know that he has our best interests and the best interests of the team in mind. I think it’s a phenomenal change that we’re going through, and I believe it’s really going to work to our advantage as the season goes on.
GRIT AND GRIND
Heading into my second year in Memphis, I feel great. Obviously, everybody is still trying to get acquainted with some of the changes that we’re putting in within the framework of the team, but personally, I feel ready. Whatever Dave wants me to do, I’m up to the challenge. We’ve had conversations about my role, and I think I’ll be used to do a lot of different things in different situations. I’m ready for that. Whatever he has me doing, I’m going to put my all into it.
The staff that Dave has put together has a lot of experience. They understand what the NBA season is all about. It’s really a grind, and I think it’s going to take time. I don’t want to say that we’re going to be great right off the bat — you just can’t tell that going in, especially in the NBA. It’s such a long season. You’re going to have ups and downs throughout the year.
Sometimes, things are going to be great, and we’re going to be rolling. Other times, we’re going to lose three in a row. It’s about keeping an even keel. We know this is not a sprint. It’s a marathon, and the coaches know that too. We just have to stay on our path. We know what we need to do, and if we execute, we should be fine.
One thing we’ve learned from last year is that we have to really buckle down at the end of the year. Toward the end of last season, we got caught not moving the ball as much, and that’s when we struggled a bit offensively. But a lot of the stuff Dave is putting in will definitely help us in that regard.
You don’t want to peak too early. Sometimes a team might come out really good, but peaks too much. Then they start to flatline and don’t finish strong. We want to be a team that continues to trend upward. If we can continue to get better throughout the season and peak at the right time, you never know what can happen.