Today, we got Chip Crain of the Memphis Grizzlies blog 3 Shades of Blue. To go there, check it out at 3sob.com. I also write there for Grizzlies content, so check me out there as well. Anyways, here’s the interview for the preview of the game tonight.
Josh Dhani: The Grizzlies have been pretty impressive after that 1-8 start, including that amazing performance by Rudy Gay against the Heat. Are you impressed? Do you think they can be playoff-caliber even into this early in the season?
Chip Crain: Yes I am impressed but no I don’t see the Grizzlies as a playoff team this year. I do expect them to play playoff caliber basketball many times this season but there will be too many flat nights along the way. Don’t forget the rookie wall still looms for the bench as well.
JD: What do the Pacers need to do to win this game?
CC: The Pacers have to shoot well. When the Pacers hit their shots they can beat just about anyone. Remember the Pacers have beaten the Celtics this season.
JD: Who do you think the X-Factor will be in this game for the Grizzlies?
CC: The X factor will be Rudy Gay. With Danny Granger out Rudy needs to play aggressive and force the issue constantly. If he coasts against the lesser opposition then the Grizzlies could struggle against a team the should beat. The Pacers don’t have anyone who should be able to stop Rudy.
JD: What is your prediction for Memphis this season?
CC: I stated earlier I expect 31 wins and I still say that. The Grizzlies are one starter getting injured from being very average. The problem is that it could be any starter as well. Teams that thin don’t generally survive an 82 game season.
JD: Do you see Rudy Gay staying with the Grizzlies next year?
CC: Absolutely. There is no question in my mind he’s back next year.
JD: If Rudy Gay does leave, do you think Memphis can survive with what they got, and maybe have to be led by Mayo?
CC: If Rudy left the Grizzlies could survive with Mayo. Mayo’s an elite talent who will continue to improve. Even if Rudy stays I expect Mayo will be the end of the game shooter next year. His ball handling skills are just that much better than Rudy’s. If Rudy doesn’t return the Grizzlies won’t be as good overall but that really depends on who they replace Rudy with as well.
JD: How did you feel when A.I. left the team?
CC: The best thing that could have happened [for the Grizzlies]. Heisley got his PR stunt to sell tickets and AI’s attitude forced the team to grow up. Now the Grizzlies have a bit more money in their coffers and the team has bonded. It was the best possible outcome for the Grizzlies.
JD: Who do ya got for the Finals?
CC: Celtics-Lakers for the TV ratings. Magic-Lakers for the best two teams overall.
Again, I appreciate Chip stopping on by to answer my questions. Check out his blog at 3sob.com for the best Grizzlies content out there. I might get a live blog up for the game in since it is Friday, and best of all, no school! I’m on December Break until January 5th. Woohoo!