Pete's Perspective: Training Camp Day 2
The question from Grizzlies head coach Lionel Hollins was direct and pointed at the start of Saturday's practice session.
"What are you made of?"
Hollins is eager to find out just how tough -- both mentally and physically -- the Grizzlies will be this season. A couple of years ago, Grizzlies owner Michael Heisley predicted the day would come when opponents didn't want to play at FedExForum because they knew the welcome would be less than hospitable. Time has proven him prescient.
Under Lionel Hollins, the Grizzles' defense has gone from sieve-like to stalwart. Memphis isn't a total shutdown unit yet, but Hollins is more than nudging them in that direction. For a large portion of Saturday's practice, the Grizzlies drilled on their defensive rotations, trying to get their schemes ingrained in the brain so that those principles become as involuntary as breathing.
One of Hollins' points of emphasis has been the need for greater communication on defense. With ten bodies swirling around screens, crashing the glass and spotting up, defenders must communicate because each one has only two forward-pointing eyes.
As good as the Grizzlies' offense figures to be, continued defensive improvement is a crucial element of Memphis' championship aspirations.