Q&A with Mike Conley
As part of the offseason Q & A series, Grizzles.com caught up with Mike Conley to check in on the team’s starting point guard. Conley has been in the gym this week working out with teammates Darrell Arthur, Lester Hudson and Hasheem Thabeet, but took time after an intense two and a half hour long workout to speak with Grizzlies.com. Conley filled us in on a variety of topics, including what he is doing to improve parts of his game and what he enjoys doing outside the court during the off season.
Grizzlies.com: Now that you have completed your third year with the Memphis Grizzlies, tell me what about the NBA experience has been the most surprising to you.
Mike Conley: I think just the amount of games you play in the season is something that took a couple of years to get used to and adjust, but I think it is the amount of excitement and fun you get from playing the game. To compete against the best players is something I really enjoy every night. Last season was the biggest moment for me and the team I think for having a good turn around year.
Grizzlies.com: Do you think that it is important to be here in Memphis working out with some of your teammates?
Conley: I think that it is very important and something I have learned is that you have to be around your teammates in the off season to get better chemistry and become a better team. The more you are around your teammates and work with them, the better you will be in the season.
Grizzlies.com: What are you contributing most of your time to this summer as far as improving parts of your game?
Conley: I think getting my body right. Getting my body to where I am explosive, becoming a better defender and getting stronger in my lower body in order to play longer and have better minutes out there on the court. I have been working on my overall game by shooting, mid range. I have just been trying to improve and become a better player.
Grizzlies.com: What are you doing this season away from the court?
Conley: Off the court, most of my time is on the golf course. I spend my time golfing, mostly relaxing at home and playing video games.
Grizzlies.com: Speaking of golf, will you be attending the St. Jude Classic next week?
Conley: Yes, you know it is right around the corner from me so I will definitely be trying to go out there and watch a little bit to get a better feel off what it’s like to really hit the ball well.
Grizzlies.com: Do you have a favorite professional golfer you like to watch?
Conley: I like watching Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson. I also like Mike Weir because he is a lefty like me. I like watching golf a lot.
Grizzlies.com: As you said earlier, you are a gamer. What’s your game of choice right now?
Conley: My game of choice would probably be Gears of War 2 on Xbox 360 is what I play hours on end now. Red Dead Redemption is also a lot of fun.
Grizzlies.com: What do you think the team needs to do to help put them over the top and into the playoffs?
Conley: We have to eliminate the bad stretches of basketball we had especially early on last season when we were losing seven to eight games in a row. With a five game set we have to win at least two or three of those games each time in order to stay on track of putting us at a goal of being over .500 and definitely getting into the playoffs.
Grizzlies.com: You had a very interesting 2009-2010 season. As the season progressed, you really improve. The last third of the season, you had some of your best games as a pro. You ended up with career highs with 12.0 points per game and 5.3 assists per game. What do you attribute this late season success to?
Conley: I think it was just letting the game come to me, letting it slow down and allow me to relax and be calmer. I have realized that it is okay to go out there and make mistakes being aggressive and having coach and the players giving me a lot of trust by allowing me to run the team has really helped.
Grizzlies.com: While you have 3 years of NBA experience, you are still very young by NBA standards. As a matter of fact you would have just finished your senior season if you had stayed in college. Do you think your growth as a person and player now is where it would be if you stayed in college?
Conley: I think that I have become a better player and better person since I left college. I know that you get better by experience and by playing against the better players. I don’t regret the decision any day of my life and think that it’s the best decision I have made so far.
Grizzlies.com: Consider for a moment that you are a fortune teller with a crystal ball. What do you see in the future season for the Grizzlies and Mike Conley?
Conley: Next season I see a Grizzlies team that is going to be even hungrier than we were this year and a team that is going to play hard every night. I see a team that is going to get a lot of goals achieved, surprise a lot of people and put Memphis back on the map of the NBA. I think that we are going to have a lot of guys coming back and hungry, especially me. As you can see with us working in here so early in the off season together that we are about business this summer.