MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - It’s game week for the Memphis Grizzlies. The Mid-South’s NBA team is set to open its 19th season in the Bluff City. They’ll do it with a full cast of characters now that Jonas Valanciunas is given the green light to play.
The 7-foot center missed the entire preseason with a sore foot after playing in the FIBA World Championships this Summer.
JV averaged a near 20-10 double double in 19 games for the Grizz last season after coming to Memphis from Toronto in the Marc Gasol trade.
“I think Jonas is in a great spot," head coach Taylor Jenkins said. “He and I were talking and, obviously, he’s gotta get his game legs right. Everyone pretty much got 4 or 5 preseason games and he’s got to catch up in that area. But, for us schematically, and knowing what to do offensively and defensively, he was locked in. So, like in today’s practice, he didn’t miss a beat.”
Valanciunas is very direct about his role in Memphis.
”My strength is rebounding," the big Lituanian said. “Being down low, big body in the paint. And that’s what I’m going to do. Trying to Protect that paint, rebound, inside score, so that’s what I’m going to bring.”
The Grizzlies open the regular season on the road Wednesday at Miami. Their Home Opener is Friday night against the Chicago Bulls at FedExFourm.