MEMPHIS, TENN.: As Jeremy Pargo prepared to face his old team on Monday, it was clear from both sides it was time for him to move on.
Pargo has played well in his first three starts for the Cavs, averaging 19.7 points and 4.0 assists, but Grizzlies coach Lionel Hollins didn’t seem overly impressed. Hollins had Pargo last season, when he averaged 2.9 points and 1.3 assists and mostly sat on the bench. He did start five games when Mike Conley was hurt and averaged 7.4 points and 2.4 assists.
“He had some decent games with us as well,” Hollins said. “It’s just a matter of consistency and being able to bring it every night. That’s what this league is about. It’s not about having one or two good games. It’s about establishing consistency.”
Pargo set career highs in points and assists through his first three starts, but was doing his best not to put too much emotion into facing his old team. Asked what he remembered most about his season with the Grizzlies, Pargo replied, “I don’t know, probably sitting on the bench.”
Asked if Conley would know all his tricks, Pargo said: “I don’t think so. I don’t think many of them know my tricks.”
It’s clear Pargo grew tired of sitting on the bench with the Grizzlies. He was traded to the Cavs less than two weeks after the team signed Jerryd Bayless as a free agent.
Pargo grew testy when asked which situation was better for him, sitting on the bench for a contender or getting plenty of playing time on a rebuilding team. He also didn’t want to talk about whether or not the trade surprised him.
“It happened. I’m here and I’m happy,” he said. “That’s my main focus. Everything that happened in the past is right where it needs to be — in the past. That’s where I’m going to leave it. I’m here and focused on today.”
Cavs coach Byron Scott said he hasn’t seen the inconsistencies Hollins referenced, at least not yet.
“He’s been playing pretty good, solid basketball,” Scott said.
Scott and Hollins both played collegiately at Arizona State and Hollins played for the San Diego Clippers when that franchise drafted Scott — only to trade him to the Los Angeles Lakers. Hollins later coached Scott with the Vancouver Grizzlies. Hollins made it clear Scott was one of the hardest workers on some pretty terrible teams, even when he was the old veteran.
“I always tell these guys Byron would be at work at 8 o’clock in the morning lifting weights, having his coffee and then he’d go out there and shoot,” Hollins said. “Then he’d practice and then he’d stick around and shoot and play one-on-one after practice. He was in his mid-30s at that time.”
Hollins called their relationship “an alumni-type relationship. I don’t think it’s real deep.”
“I’m better looking than him,” Hollins joked, “but he was a better athlete and a better player.”
Who’s the best?
The Grizzlies began Monday with the league’s best record at 9-2. They finished with the fourth-best record in the Western Conference last season, but have already beaten heavyweights like the Lakers, New York Knicks and the defending champion Miami Heat this season.
Scott, however, isn’t ready to label them the best team in the league.
“It’s so early,” he said. “If they’re not the best team, they’re in the top three or four.”
Scott had the line of the day when talking about Grizzlies big men Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol.
“Their front court might be the most physical front court in basketball right now,” Scott said. “Neither one of those guys can jump over the phone book, but both of them hit you, they get great position and they’re tough.”
Jason Lloyd can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Read the Cavs blog at http://www.ohio.com/cavs. Follow him on Twitter http://www.twitter.com/JasonLloydABJ. Follow ABJ sports on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/sports.abj.