Grizzlies exhibition game in Minnesota will be ‘extremely different’ homecoming for Tyus Jones


Memphis Grizzlies guard Tyus Jones (21) dribbles the ball against Washington Wizards guard Shabazz Napier (5) during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Sunday, Feb. 9, 2020, in Washington. The Grizzlies won 106-99. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The Grizzlies are three days into training camp and all week long they’ve expressed their excitement about playing against the Minnesota Timberwolves on Saturday.

For Tyus Jones, this trip to the Land of 10,000 Lakes is somewhat like a homecoming. Things are different now because of the ongoing pandemic, and Jones said he is looking forward to going back to his home state.

“Yeah, it’s always cool to come back to Minnesota,” Jones said. “Obviously, I played four seasons there, grew up there, from there. So, definitely enjoy getting a chance to get back there. Yeah, it’s pretty cool, getting a chance to play against some of the guys I spent a few years playing alongside.”

Jones said granted it is an exhibition game, he enjoys any opportunity to go back home. Minnesota like most other states in the Upper Midwest is on lockdown due to the pandemic. Jones said going home this time will be “extremely different.”

“I think everyone is just trying to navigate what is smart to do and trying to balance being safe and still living our lives,” Jones said. “So, we got a couple of stretches where we go back to Minnesota, but it’ll just be different because, in the season, we’re just trying to be smart and be safe and not put myself at risk or my teammates or my team at risk.”

Though this preseason schedule is shorter than it normally is, Jones said it is key to stay locked in and focus, though things are much different this year.

“I think you gotta find a middle ground,” Jones said. “You gotta know that the regular season is right around the corner. We don’t have a ton of time. So, we got to approach these games like real games. Just in terms of our readiness and being locked in.”

Jones said though the approach is different to this upcoming preseason, he said it is important to remember these games are exhibition games after all. He said he and his teammates are going to use these games to ensure they are playing their best basketball on both ends of the court ahead of the regular season.

Jones and the Grizzlies will kick off their preseason against the T’Wolves in Minneapolis on Saturday, at 7 p.m.

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