COMMENTARY | In the dynamic world of professional sports fans, you often come across two types of individuals.
There are those who are die-hard fans, forever loyal to their team of choosing. Then there is the more common casual fan who enjoys the sport in general, but may be open to which team(s) he or she chooses to follow each season.
If you find yourself in the second categorization, you may consider these three points as to why the Memphis Grizzlies should be on your radar this upcoming season:
Underdog status with contender abilities. It is always fun to cheer for the underdog, but especially when they have a real chance at success. The Memphis Grizzlies are perennially underestimated by professional sport analysts and fans alike. Many assume that the Grizzlies' lack of a true superstar, or their limited budget as a small-market franchise, hinders their ability to contend at the league's highest level. For the past several seasons, however, the Grizzlies have quietly exceeded the expectations of others, culminating with an appearance in the Western Conference finals of the 2013 playoffs.
Defensive artistry. In the NBA, the defensive game has truly has become a lost art. Though with the Memphis Grizzlies, one can rediscover defense in its purest form. The Grizzlies boast a powerful one-two punch on the defensive end of the court, with elite perimeter defenders in Mike Conley and Tony Allen complemented by the league's reigning defensive player of the year in Marc Gasol. When these talents are concentrated with head coach Dave Joerger's brilliant game plan, you have a defense that can rival the entertainment value of many teams' offensive games. Memphis is one of only a handful of teams remaining in the league where one can appreciate this artistry.
Team basketball. Although many view the Grizzlies' lack of a superstar as a handicap, it may, in fact, be one of their greatest strengths. An overwhelming majority of NBA teams now rely on one or two superstar players to ensure their success. However in Memphis, you find basketball returned to its roots as a team-first rather than a player-first sport.
Grizzlies players will routinely place their personal success behind the the success of the team. Seeing a well-oiled, unified squad such as the Memphis Grizzlies truly is a breath of fresh air in the world of egocentric players. The Memphis Grizzlies are a unique brand of basketball. They may not always grace the front page of sports websites or overwhelm the highlight reels, but they consistently and effectively deliver what fans crave most: wins. And Memphis certainly isn't done. As the Grizzlies embark on another season, it would certainly be beneficial to consider hopping on the bandwagon. Do not underestimate the underdog.
Nicholas Naveiras is a lifelong Memphian, college student, and diehard Memphis Grizzlies follower. He has followed the franchise's on- and off-court progress since 2001.
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