Conley on Grizzlies’ season: ‘It’s been hard, it’s different’

Mike Conley could play more off-ball in 2018-19.

The Memphis Grizzlies enter Friday with the second worst record in the Western Conference at 12-26. Their starting point guard Mike Conley has been out since Nov. 13 with left Achilles soreness and a left heel injury and there is still no timetable for his return.

The Grizzlies “Grit and Grind” attitude is long gone. A season that began with so much optimism has quickly turned into one of the worst in franchise history.

David Fizdale was fired after benching Marc Gasol in the fourth quarter during November. Gasol, of course, denied he had anything to do with Fizdale’s departure, but even Grizzlies general manager Chris Wallace said Gasol and Fizdale had tension.

For Conley, one of the leaders on the team, this season has been difficult since he can’t do anything but watch for now. The veteran point guard sat down with The Undefeated and said things have just been different than what he’s accustomed to.

“It’s been hard, especially the way that the organization has been and all the things that have happened since I last played a game, not being able to be a part of this,” Conley told The Undefeated. “Just watching it all. Not having any control. I am a guy who is usually in the leadership role and is around the team. And not being on road trips has been tough. It’s all been something to get used to.

“It’s different. At the beginning of the season we had so much optimism with how it started. Now, everything has been flipped. It’s been a 180 [-degree turn] with the way we’ve been playing, the coaching changes and things like that. It’s different, but we have to keep plugging away.”

Conley says he’s getting better from his injury and can’t wait to step back on the court. The Grizzlies have a long way to go to get back into the playoff picture and Conley knows health is the only way Memphis can climb up the standings.

“I know we are near the bottom right now, but we definitely have enough time,” Conley said. “We have enough time if we are able to put everything together in a short period of time and put enough wins together to make a run. Health is the key. Health is the No. 1 thing.

Not try to rush everything. Just make that push by making sure everything is in order, like myself and the rest of the guys that are banged up.”