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VOL. 130 | NO. 176 | Thursday, September 10, 2015

Tony Allen: Starting Doesn’t Matter … 'I Showed That Already'

By Don Wade

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Training camp for the Memphis Grizzlies is just three weeks away.

When its starts, All-Star center Marc Gasol will be safely back in the fold after having signed a long-term extension over the summer. The Grizzlies will have added a veteran big man in Brandan Wright and another wing player in Matt Barnes, once part of the enemy that is the Los Angeles Clippers.

When the Grizzlies start training camp in California later this month, coach Dave Joerger will be looking at a lot of players capable of starting on the wing. After having played off the bench part of last season, Tony Allen says it doesn’t matter to him if he starts or not. “I already showed that.”

(Daily News File/Andrew J. Breig)

Memphis coach Dave Joerger changed the starting lineup last year after the team acquired Jeff Green via trade; Tony Allen and Courtney Lee each moved to the bench for a time so Joerger could start Green.

Ultimately, Green played off the bench and Lee and Allen started. But going into camp, the starting lineup at shooting guard and small forward is more question than answer.

Competition at the wing sets up as a potential subplot.

“I like it when it’s like that,” Allen said recently after throwing out the ceremonial first pitch at a Memphis Redbirds game. “That brings out the best in me.”

Does he care if he starts?

“I don’t get into any of that, man. It isn’t how you start, it’s how you finish. Starting don’t mean nothing to me. I showed that already.”

Here’s TA on some other subjects, beginning with Gasol returning after Allen, as much as any Grizzly, had voiced positive feelings about Big Spain coming back:

“I was confident in Marc staying. That’s the big bro, he’s here, I’m glad he’s got that out of the way and now we can put our focus on doing something real big for the city.”

On Wright joining the Grizzlies: “Athleticism, we needed that added to our team – a guy that will block shots, finish at the basket. On the defensive end, he’s gonna alter a lot of shots.”

On Barnes becoming a Grizzly: “I was excited. Me and Matt Barnes are good friends. First thing I did was say, `Congratulations, welcome over.’”

On recovering from the hamstring injury that left him on the bench for the season’s end in the Golden State playoffs series: “I’m being patient after the injury from last year. Just want to get back to full strength, first-team all-defender, get back to playing at that high level.”

Joerger to host “Giving on the Green” and annual preview dinner

The coach’s first charity golf tournament, “Giving on the Green,” will be held on Monday, Sept. 21, at River Bend Links in Tunica. The tournament is presented by the Dave Joerger Foundation and benefits the Y.A.F. (Youth Athletic Foundation).

The four-man team event starts at 11:30 a.m. with registration and lunch, followed by a shotgun start at 1 p.m. The event will close with a cocktail hour and awards ceremony at Horseshoe Casino from 6 to 9 p.m.

Then, on Tuesday, Sept. 22, Joerger will host his second annual preview dinner to benefit youth tennis. Tickets are $100 in advance and $125 at the door. The event will be held at Colonial Country Club in Cordova and include a silent auction for Grizzlies- and tennis-themed items and opportunities to mingle with the coach and his staff.

Fans can register for both events at davejoergerfoundation.org.

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