Hustle emphasize defensive, up-tempo approaches akin to Grizzlies

By George Fadel | October 25, 2017

Just days after watching their parent club hold the Houston Rockets to their lowest scoring total of the Mike D’Antoni era, the Memphis Hustle continued Wednesday to emphasize the Grizzlies’ defensive qualities through the initial stages of G League training camp.

“We wanted to set the tone from day one, defensively, and we did it the very first practice, where we really stressed man-to-man defense, good ball pressure and just being really active on defense,” said Hustle coach Glynn Cyprien. “Today, we did more of a team concept. We talked defense, (worked on) help-side defense and just playing defense with physicality, where you’re not laying on screens and you’re fighting through screens and you’re really keeping the ball in front of you with active hands.

Overall, Cyprien is pleased with his team’s defensive efforts through two days of camp.

I thought today was a good day defensively,” Cyprien said Wednesday. “I thought our guys really competed, and it’s got to be that way if we have any chance of being a good ball club.”

The Hustle also worked on a noticeably up-tempo offensive philosophy, spending plenty of time working through full-court fastbreak drills.

“I thought our point guards were really good and able to get the ball up,” Cyprien said. “Our wings ran the floor for some easy baskets. Again, to take a page from the Grizzlies that we want to emulate them offensively as well. Look at what Mike Conley has done in terms of pushing the ball for the Grizz and the wings and even the bench is scoring for the Grizz.”

Cyprien also addressed pacing and space, particularly the need for versatility and balance on the wings.

“You’re getting offense from every position and we need to play and do the same things,” Cyprien added. “We’re stressing our wings getting up the floor. We’re stressing easy baskets and, again, it all starts with conditioning. And it’s going to be a daily process with this team.”

The Hustle’s second day of camp also saw the team use situational scrimmage sessions to work on late-game execution in close and competitive scenarios.

“It’s so important, and you can’t leave anything to chance,” Cyprien explained. “We’re constantly talking about it on a daily basis as having time to score, being able to get shots at the end of the game, knowing what your job is and executing your job at the end of the game.”

The 2017 Hustle Training Camp, presented by Select Physical Therapy, continues with practice Thursday as the team prepares for its Oct. 30 preseason matchup against the Lakeland Magic at RP Funding Center in Lakeland, Fla.

Fans will have two opportunities to catch the Hustle on opening weekend at Landers Center, starting with the inaugural regular-season home opener against the Sioux Falls Skyforce on Saturday, Nov. 4 at 7 p.m. The Hustle will then take on the Salt Lake City Stars on Sunday, Nov. 5 at 5 p.m.

Single game tickets are now available for all Hustle games here.