The Addition Of Joakim Noah Gives Memphis the ‘Dog’ They Were Missing
The Memphis Grizzlies returned home Wednesday night following a crazy two game split on the East coast. Memphis pulled out a tough double overtime victory against the Nets in Brooklyn, only to fall a run short two nights later in Philadelphia against the revamped 76ers. During that East coast road trip, Memphis added an All-Star and former Defensive Player of the Year to their roster to bolster their depth.
The addition of Joakim Noah to the Memphis Grizzlies could be Memphis’ best in season addition in years, and he’s only played one game for the Grizzlies. Wednesday night, Noah made his debut for the Grizzlies after several months of discussions. A lot of speculation carried on from a local perspective about Noah being out of the league for a good amount of time, and how fast he would get back into game shape.
No one expected Noah to return and cut starting center Marc Gasol’s minutes by almost four minutes in game one. Gasol hasn’t recorded a season of 35 minutes per game in six seasons, and with the addition of Noah, it looks like Marc might be safe for a seventh straight season. Noah still does all of the small things right on both ends of the floor, and there was little to no rust on Wednesday night against the Clippers where he helped Memphis get their redemption on Los Angeles.
While Gasol struggled from the field, Noah and Gasol provided a very stable defensive back line for the Grizzlies defense. Memphis’ starters exited and Noah would take Gasol’s spot as that anchor on that back line. Guarding the giant Boban Marjanovic for majority of the game. Noah, who is well below Marjanovic’s 7’3 frame made Marjanovic’s shots difficult, and while Marjanovic dropped 19 points in Wednesday night’s loss, 11 of the 19 came from the free throw line.
JaMychal Green enjoyed playing with Noah. I seemed to get that vibe from Green in the second quarter when he slammed one of his many ferocious jams to the delight of the FedEx Forum crowd. Green dropped 19 points and let the fans know about each one of them. “Man, Joakim, he brings a lot of energy, and it started at practice the other day,” Green praised Noah’s presence since joining the team. “He brings that extra dog,” Green continued talking about Noah’s presence on this Grizzlies bench.
Without a doubt Memphis landed a dog, and that dog chose the city where careers are revived it seems like almost every season. “We never really cared what your past was, we only care what you can bring to the table here and we’re excited about what he can bring,” Gasol talked about guys coming to Memphis to revive their careers.
Memphis is heading into a tough road and home double header first on Friday night in New Orleans against the Pelicans, and then back at home against the Los Angeles Lakers at FedEx Forum. Depth and defense will be key, and once again Memphis has those two things, thanks to the addition of Noah.