The Memphis Grizzlies knew that they had to retool in order to avoid luxury tax problems in the coming years. The core of Rudy Gay-Zach Randolph-Marc Gasol was given one healthy playoff run together and then for financial reasons Gay was sent to Toronto for Ed Davis, Tayshaun Prince, and Austin Daye.
Prince has stepped into Gay’s starting spot nicely, providing quality defense and keeping the floor spaced on offensive giving the bigs room to work. Davis brings much needed size to Memphis, and his defensive skill set fits right in at the Grindhouse. Since the trade the Grizz are 18-7. The Grizzlies have been an entertaining team all season and are currently second in the Southwest and are the 5th seed in the Western Conference.
Losing Marc Gasol indefinitely to an ab injury suffered this past week hurts no doubt. They hold a large enough lead over Golden State that they should be able to rest up and get ready for a shootout in the first round with the Denver Nuggets. That series promises to be a battle of will and should be decided by which team can dictate their pace. The Grizzlies have the second best DefEff at 97.1 and the Nuggets look to score with a scorching pace of play that is second in the league at 97.4 possessions per 48 min.
Reasons To Watch
Marc Gasol’s Passing ability.
Watching Marc Gasol square up his defender with his exaggerated triple-threat position only to drop a dime right around his defender is a thing of beauty. The Spaniard has led the team all season on both ends of the court. The DPOY candidate’s offensive game is only revered and respected by NBA diehards. He does everything at his pace and never seems to be in any type of rush. His touch and knack for making the pretty pass is reason enough to watch the Grizzlies.
Trick or Treat Tony.
Tony Allen is still the best on-the-ball defender. Avery Bradley is coming for the throne but as of right now it’s still all Tony’s. Allen is as tenacious a defender and as unpredictable an offensive player you will find in the league. It makes for pure entertainment because you truly never know what to expect from him, but you know it will be done at 110 mph.
Zach Randolph goes “hard in the paint.”
Zach Randolph is part of a lost generation. He prefers to battle for position and play old school hoops. If there is not contact on one of Z-Bo’s post-ups, he seems somewhat disappointed. The heart of the team and community, Randolph has grown tremendously since his days as the young pit on the infamous “Jailblazers” teams. Just watch some of these lefty fade aways and old school post ups. What’s not to love?