MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - With preseason game one in the books, the Memphis Grizzlies now have actual play they can evaluate for their new look.
And it seems what's old is new again as the Grizz get ready for their 17th season in the Bluff City.
As the Grizzlies transition to the new NBA game of space and pace, one of their old heads comes to the forefront, even coming off injury.
Point Guard Mario Chalmers was clearly the star of the Grizz preseason opening victory against the Magic at FedExForum.
Chalmers was part of a Grizzlies team 2 years ago that seemed destined for a deep run in the playoffs, until injuries devastated the roster. The former Kansas star was one costly casualty, suffering a torn Achilles tendon which sidelined him for 18 months.
But the time totally away from the court is to his benefit, not pushing a return which could've curtailed his recovery. Rio was exceptional in his return to the Grizzlies, leading the team in scoring with 19 points in just 20 minutes in the 92-84 win.
Chalmers said motivation is no problem, but he needs more conditioning.
"Hopefully some oxygen. I think that's the biggest thing for me is that first breath was gone fast," Chalmers said. "And so it's just about getting in better condition, you know, us keep working better together as a team, buying into Fiz's system, and getting everybody healthy and back on the court and then we can put everything together."
Starting point guard Mike Conley is getting used to the new pace as well.
"As you see, we have a lot of guys who can make plays," Conley said. "I think we don't have just one designated ball handler. Anybody who gets the rebound can push it and make plays for everybody else. So, it was fun to see the ball moving and guys just driving and kicking, creating a different kind of game we haven't played before."
The Grizzlies get back after it in preseason action with a road game Wednesday night at the Philadelphia 76ers.