Grizzlies to try keep identity despite losing Z-Bo, Allen

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - FedExForum is under construction right now, and it's appropriate because so are the Memphis Grizzlies.

For the first time in eight years, the Grizzlies will take the court without Tony Allen and Zach Randolph, the originators of Memphis' grit-and-grind identity.

Head coach David Fizdale made it clear at media day that Memphis can still be the grit and grind team while also bringing in younger players to fit in today's faster NBA.

"Who doesn't want to be called gritter and grinder?" Fizdale said. "That's a great slogan for us, so I don't want to lose that edge."

Players like Ben McLemore say the whole grit and grind mantra is what helped bring him to Memphis

"Ready for the grind," McLemore said. "That's all I know is grind. So I can't wait to get out there back on the court."

Right now McLemore is grinding away at rehab, recovering from a broken foot. He's expected back by October.

Chandler Parsons says his reconstruction process is now complete. Three knee surgeries over the past two years limited him to just a quarter of the season in 2016.

"Finally feel like I had a summer where I could work on myself, work on my body, work on my game, and not have to be going through this whole rehab process," Parsons said.

Tyreke Evans, a former one and done under John Calipari's Memphis Tigers and also the NBA's rookie of the year in 2009, is back in Memphis. Evans says he's ready to prove he's healthy after playing only 60 games in the last two years.

"Bringing energy," Evans said. "A lot of offense, defense. I know coach is big on defense too, so I'm healthy, man. I'm just ready to play."

The two mainstays from the Grizzlies core are Mike Conley and Marc Gasol. With all the new faces in the locker room, Conley says the team is going through "a growing process."

"We've been together for the last month," Conley said. "You can already see the jokes flying and people get to know each other a little bit better."

"Turn the page quick and find our evolved identity," Gasol said.

The Grizzlies open training camp Tuesday at FedExForum.

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