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Soon after he finished a private talk with Stromile Swift on one end of the FedExForum practice court, Jerry West strolled to the other.

The Grizzlies' president watched with interest an after-practice workout that included Bonzi Wells and Jason Williams.

West tutored.

He encouraged.

He mostly smiled throughout what became a vote-of-confidence visit with coach Mike Fratello's refuse-to-lose bunch.

So as much as West appeared upbeat, he also seemed puzzled by the lack of reverence given his team on the national scene.

"Because we don't have a glamor guy no one ever talks about us," West said. "I feel badly for our players and our coaches. We've got a good team. And we really have a team. I'm just hopeful that we'll continue to play well enough to get into the playoffs."


West appeared confident about the Grizzlies' chances of returning to the postseason. Although he acknowledged top-seeded San Antonio would be a tough matchup for any team, West considered his team a dangerous draw.

"When we get everybody healthy we're a tough matchup because we shoot 3-point shots," West said. "And when you leave Pau Gasol alone down there (in the paint), that's not easy. That's a tough matchup. And we're unbelievably well coached.

"Our coaching staff has done an unbelievable job. Hubie (Brown) was Coach of the Year last season. When you consider things, you should consider Mike (Fratello) this season."

West, though, sounds like a man convinced the NBA's deepest team clearly resides in Memphis.

"It's really remarkable," he said. "This is an incredible testament to the guys here who are incredibly unselfish. We play well together. Lorenzen Wright has had a tremendous season. He's playing the best basketball I've seen him play in his career. He's playing with his head and not just running around there giving an effort all the time. Shane Battier is having a great season. Brian Cardinal and Mike Miller have had really good years, and our point guards have all played well for us.

"Our depth has really saved us."
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