I'm not even talking about statistics here. Just, pace. I realize how much I appreciate the more deliberate style of the Grizzlies when I watch other NBA games.
Admittedly, I don't do that often, but I was in the mood and watched the TNT doubleheader the other night (Wizards/Thunder, then Blazers/Hawks). And I guess I see now why no matter how "fast" the Grizzlies play, they'll never get out of the bottom 3rd of the league statistically, if these games were an indication of how most teams in the league play these days.
Which is also funny, because they don't seem to get away with the same things against the Grizz as they do with other teams. Which may be why teams don't really care to play us. It's only through seeing the red carpet defense of other "good" teams when you realize how standout our defense is.
Sure, it's faster. There are more free drives to the hole, more fast break dunks. But it reminds me much more of the All-Star game than of the playoffs. It's fun in the ASG. It looks almost useless in the regular season. It's faster. It's more suited to a highlight reel. But I didn't think it to be especially enjoyable to watch. If there was any word I would attach to it, it would be - predictable. And predictable is just a fancy word for boring.
There is something more pure, more fundamental, more elegant when I watch our hometown team. Something that I can really appreciate. I understand now how people describe us as a team that is well prepared for the playoffs, because we play a playoff style all season long. And that's the best basketball of the year. We just get to see a team practicing it for 82 games. Grit, Grind, whatever. Whatever we are, whatever we are becoming, we have been privileged to enjoy this identity for a long, long time. And as time goes by, our vintage just seems to be getting more and more rare and noteworthy.
It could have gone 30 different ways for us, getting our own NBA team. I wouldn't trade the Grizzlies for any of them.