2013--14 RECORD: 50--32 (3RD IN SOUTHWEST) COACH: DAVE JOERGER (2ND SEASON WITH GRIZZLIES)
A standout trio gives the Grizzlies their sound structure: a defense anchored by center Marc Gasol, and an offense sustained by power forward Zach Randolph's post play and point guard Mike Conley's pick-and-roll execution. Together those three have driven Memphis to four straight postseasons, but their collective talents haven't been enough to overcome flaws at shooting guard and small forward.
Tony Allen, whose limitations as a shooter and playmaker offset his fierce defense, has been the mainstay. Courtney Lee had some solid performances after arriving in a three-team trade last January, but he's a role player. Mike Miller performed admirably, but he was limited to 20.8 minutes per game by design due to his injury history. James Johnson, though lively, proved too erratic. The options were so unfavorable that an increasingly ineffective Tayshaun Prince—who shot a career-low 40.7%—averaged 25.6 minutes as he turned 34.
And so here comes a fresh batch of candidates. Miller and Johnson are gone, but Memphis acquired Vince Carter, welcomes back Quincy Pondexter and drafted Jordan Adams from UCLA. Carter, 37, is the Grizzlies' most dynamic wing since Rudy Gay, capable of creating off the dribble and sinking threes. Pondexter, 26, who missed the final 63 games of last season with a stress fracture in his right foot, is a more dangerous long-range shooter than Prince. Adams, 20, is a crafty scorer. Memphis still doesn't have definitive answers at either wing spot, but better options could blend into a productive mix.
17.2 PPG; 6.0 APG; 45.0 FG%; 36.1 3FG%
9.6 PPG; 2.4 RPG; 48.0 FG%; 37.1 3FG%
6.0 PPG; 3.1 RPG; 1.6 APG; 40.7 FG%
17.4 PPG; 10.1 RPG; 2.5 APG; 46.7 FG%
14.6 PPG; 7.2 RPG; 3.6 APG; 47.3 FG%
11.9 PPG; 3.5 RPG; 40.7 FG%; 39.4 3FG%
9.0 PPG; 3.8 RPG; 1.6 SPG; 49.4 FG%
Memphis wins 50 for the third year in a row as Joerger further diversifies the offense.
Familiar spacing woes and a Randolph drop-off ruin the offense. No playoffs for the Grizz.
A RIVAL SCOUT SIZES UP THE GRIZZLIES
Dave Joerger wants an offense with more ball movement and perimeter-based stuff, but the roster is still built to play inside-out and at a slow pace.... Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph have a nice feel for each other. Both can score on the block or step out for 18-footers. Neither is a three-point shooter, but both have good ball skills. They are two of the best interior passers.... Gasol is always in favorable spots defensively to help teammates. He's able to contest shots and be physical in the lane without fouling much.... Durability is a concern with Randolph, who has a lot of mileage on him at 33.... The Grizzlies didn't get anyone to make life easier for Gasol and Randolph. I do like second-round pick Jarnell Stokes [out of Tennessee], though, because he plays his butt off and will go get rebounds from the four spot.... Mike Conley is the most underrated point guard in the league. He's a pesky defender, he's improved his perimeter shot and he takes care of the ball. They can't afford to lose him because he doesn't have much backcourt help.... Here's the thing about Tony Allen: If you don't embrace what he brings, you see his flaws—like his lack of shooting—instead of his positives. If you want someone to lock down a two or three, he's a terrific choice.... We don't have to go over Tayshaun Prince on our scouting reports. He doesn't do anything to make you guard him.... Vince Carter and Courtney Lee will be under pressure to perform consistently and space the floor. This team needs both to score.