UA-59049186-1 NBA Team Preview: Memphis Grizzlies - Good if it Goes

NBA Team Preview: Memphis Grizzlies

Offseason

Draft Picks: 17. PG. Wade Baldwin IV, 33. PF. Deyonta Davis

Key Acquisitions: SF. Chandler Parsons

Key Loses: SF. Jeff Green

Player Profiles

Projected Lineup

PG. Mike Coneley: 6’1, 175

  • Smart, poised veteran who plays the PG position the right way.
  • Offensively he’s always under control. He’s a good passer, he can play with or without the ball and he shoots it well.
  • Slowed last year on the defensive end due to injury but at is best is a very good defender.

SG. Tony Allen: 6’4, 213

  • Defensive specialist who isn’t asked to contribute much on offense.
  • Serves on offenses strictly as a cutter for the most part. He’s not a good shooter or scorer and not a ball handler or distributor.
  • Shut down on ball defender who shows up to the gym to play defense.

SF. Chandler Parsons: 6’10, 230

  • Big scoring wing with a nice all-around game.
  • Can do a lot of things offensively. He’s comfortable with the ball in his hands but at his best off the ball scoring as a shooter or getting it via dribble hand off. He shoots it well from 3 or mid-range and is great around the rim.
  • Decent defensive player that utilizes his huge size to his advantage.

PF. Jamychal Green: 6’9, 227

  • Young athletic PF that offers non-stop hustle and plays a lot bigger than he looks and finishes strong.
  • Offensively he’s at his best being utilized as a slashing 4. His shot isn’t reliable enough to be considered a true stretch 4 yet but he has shown potential to have that if he can be more consistent. He runs the floor hard and covers ground in a hurry and isn’t afraid to post up and attempt to finish over bigger defenders.
  • Defensively he’s an average defender right now but has potential to be more.  He’s a lot stronger than his size would suggest and he’s plenty athletic enough to cover lots of ground and defend away from the basket. However, he still makes young player mistakes on that end and he offers no rim protection.

C. Marc Gasol: 7’1, 255

  • Huge Spanish center with 1 of the best offensive skill sets of any big in the league.
  • Can do it all offensively has been often utilized as somewhat of a point center for his team because of his elite passing ability and vision. Really good scorer on the block who utilizes superb footwork and touch on his shots. He hits mid-range shots and can put the ball on the floor and drive to shoot the sweeping hook in the lane he loves to use.
  • Elite defensive player when healthy who just does a great job of not only playing individual defense but anchoring a team defense. He protects the rim, defends PnR at a high level and is very difficult to score on 1 on 1 in the paint.

 

Bench

C. Zach Randolph: 6’9, 260

  • Declining big physical banging PF that lacks height and athleticism but utilizes a below the rim game.
  • Has become less effective on offense as he’s gotten older because it’s tougher for him to finish over length. However he’s still effective against a lot of the smaller bigs as they simply can’t handle him.
  • He holds his own as a interior defender but he can’t defend away from the basket very well and doesn’t protect the rim.

PG. Wade Baldwin: 6’4, 202

  • Rookie combo guard with terrific measurables. 6’11 wing span will allow him to easily play both guard positions and maybe even SF if injury dictates his team needs him to.
  • Versatile offensive player that can shoot it and pass it. Shot over 40% from 3 in college in both his seasons at Vanderbilt and should be able to run 2nd unit offenses in the NBA.
  • Should fit right in on the defensive minded Grizzlies with his defensive reputation from college and elite tools.

PF. Brandon Wright: 6’10, 210

  • Has been 1 of the best backup PFs in the NBA for years now due to his high energy approach and offensive efficiency.
  • Career 125 offensive rating pretty much tells it all. This guy is incredibly effective within his role on offense. Unbelievably good finishing around the rim and converting close range shots. Doesn’t shoot them in high volume but is also a guy that can knock em down from mid-range. He doesn’t create a lot of things for himself but there are very few back up bigs you can pass the ball to and get better production than what this guy brings.
  •  Highly athletic player that can move laterally and defend in today’s uptempo NBA that forces bigs to defend away from the paint more.

SG. Troy Daniels: 6’4, 205

  • Undersized 2 guard that can score the ball.
  • It was a small sample size but in 11 mpg over 43 games a year ago he shot 48% from 3 and had a effective field goal % over 60. He might not be able to maintain that level of production with extended minutes and a larger role over 82 games but he can certainly put the ball in the hole.
  • Lack of size and athleticism results in mediocre results on the defensive end.

SF. Vince Carter: 6’6, 220

  • Washed up former all-star wing who now serves exclusivity as a spot up shooter with the purpose of spacing the floor. Will be 40 in January.
  • Half of his shots last season came from 3. He’s not a great 3 point shooter but he is a good 1 and if you leave him open he can knock them down.
  • For a 39 year old wing he’s actually not too bad on defense. Still a below average defender overall obviously at his advanced age but he competes and has more success on that end that players over a decade younger with twice as much athleticism which is a testament to his effort on that end.

C. Deyonta Davis: 6’11, 237

  • Rookie physical specimen of a big man that can run like a deer and jump out the gym.
  • Raw offensively, but has the athletic ability to contribute right away as a finisher. He can put tremendous pressure on defenses as a dive man because of his ability to catch lob passes and dive hard to the rim and finish strong.
  • Has the potential and tools to be an elite defender. Averaged nearly 4 blocks per 36 minutes in college. He’s strong enough to be a force inside and mobile enough to defend away from the rim.

PG. Tony Wroten: 6’6, 205

  • Long athletic combo guard that likes to attack the basket.
  • Offensively he’s at his best in the open court or driving to the basket but he really struggles to shoot form outside and isn’t much of a true PG.
  • Despite the fabulous size he has at guard he isn’t much of a defender.

PF. Jarell Martin: 6’10, 239

  • Short big man with a thick build and decent athleticism.
  • Has potential to be a quality offensive big man option off the bench because he has a good blend of power and athleticism.
  •  He’s a short big with short arms which usually doesn’t result in quality defense and Martin was no different in his rookie year.

Breakdown

The Grizzlies have 1 of the best starting 5s in the league. The frontline will look different with the addition of free agent Chandler Parsons at SF and Zach Randolph shifting to a role off the bench with 3rd year forward Jamychal Green slotted to take over the 4 spot in the starting 5. The Grizzlies desperately needed a wing that could shoot and score and they got just that in Parsons. Green isn’t a better overall player than Randolph but he may prove to be a better fit for the starting 5. He’s a young high energy athletic PF that runs the floor hard and can fly around on defense. He should allow more spacing for Gasol and the team as a whole. Marc Gasol return as the starting center s and though he’s a year older his game has never been heavily reliant upon athleticism so I expect him to have a bounce back year. The backcourt will return as status quo with 1 of the best defensive duos in the league in Mike Conley and Tony Allen. Allen might be the most effective non athletic, non shooting SG on offense in the history of the NBA. He’s very good at finding open shots by constantly cutting. Conley is Mr. reliable at PG that keeps the team on schedule and gives the team the perfect blend of knowing when to score and when to pass and actually being good at both.

The bench had some question marks, but the move to let Randolph come off the bench I believe will prove to be a great one. He gives their 2nd unit a legitimate scoring option that doesn’t need anyone to create for him. He’s also sure to draw double teams against 2nd unit bigs which will help open things up for others on the 2nd unit. The other two proven guys coming off the bench are Brandon Wright and Vince Carter. Carter will be 40 in January so it’s hard to say just how much more he has left in the tank. I love Brandon Wright he’s superb at playing his game and being a major factor off the bench but he’s also coming off a injury year and you never know how players are going to bounce back. As far as the youth and unproven portion off the bench goes you’re looking at 2 rookies in Wade Baldwin and  Deyonta Davis who both have the talent to come in and contribute off the bench immediately. And then there’s Troy Daniels who could be the lead wing off the bench for Memphis. He’s entering his 4th season without a large sample size of work but in limited action he’s shown good things. Martin was a late 2015 1st-round pick who is talented in his own right and will be looking to get minutes in the rotation over Davis.

Expectations

My expectations for the Grizzlies are for them to make the playoffs and be 1 of the top 4 teams in the West. They are now a lot more athletic with Parsons and Green starting at the two forward spots and the bench is a lot better with Randolph being the team’s new 6th man. Memphis has tried the slow grind it out with two big slow post players style for a while now and it ultimately just hasn’t proven to get them to where they really want to be, which is the NBA finals. They’re going to be looking to play faster and get more pace and Green should find a lot of easy scoring opportunities cutting with Gasol as his teammate. The Grizzlies are going to be an elite defensive team and with the addition of Parsons they should be a much improved offensive team as well. I think this team can compete with San Antonio and the Clippers for that 2nd seed in the West.

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