Since his arrival back in July, Memphis Grizzlies fans have been champing at the bit while waiting to finally get a glimpse of veteran Marcus Smart take to the hardwood in his new navy blue and gold threads.
Though this debut was initially expected to come during the club’s open practice back on October 7, the point guard wound up being held out from the event due to an abdomen injury. Since then, Memphis has gone on to play three separate preseason games, all of which saw Smart donning street clothes as a result of the lingering ailment.
With just one more preliminary exhibition to go before the regular season begins, many have begun to wonder whether the 29-year-old’s first appearance in a Grizzlies uniform would have to wait until their October 25 opener against the New Orleans Pelicans.
While there has yet to be any confirmation, it seems as though fans may have a chance to see Smart get some preseason run in after all, as head coach Taylor Jenkins’ latest remarks on the matter seemed to sprinkle in a sense of optimism.
Grizzlies could see Marcus Smart take to the hardwood in preseason finale
Per the folks at Grind City Media, Jenkins revealed that the Grizzlies have already begun to “ramp up” the guard’s workload in practice and, fortunately, Smart only appears to be getting healthier along the way.
"“We’ve got four days before our next game, and the ramp-up period is going really well right now,” Jenkins said. “That soreness we’ve talked about has kind of dissipated. And now, (Smart’s) work rate is up to the level that it needs to be to get him ready for five-on-five play.”"
The decision by the Grizzlies to trade for Smart this summer has been tabbed as the “most underrated player acquisition” according to league GMs, and it’s quite easy to see why.
A three-time All-Defensive team selection and a recent Defensive Player of the Year award recipient who has seen deep playoff runs on six occasions throughout his decade-long NBA career, the guard comes to Grind City viewed as a highly valuable commodity both from a leadership and skill-set perspective.
On top of this, Smart is also expected to take on lead guard duties for the first third of the regular season while superstar Ja Morant serves out his 25-game suspension, thus providing another reason why it’s believed to be imperative that he gets some run in five-on-five situations versus other clubs before the start of the regular season.
Hopefully, he can make this happen on Friday, October 20 against the Milwaukee Bucks. Jenkins’ recent comments seem to suggest there’s now a realistic chance that this could happen.