As the Memphis Grizzlies transition from its original foundation of “Grit N’ Grind” to a more uptempo offense to fit today’s game, Coach Fizdale and his coaching staff are identifying ways to utilize their best players to fit this new system. Over the course of the offseason, the Grizzlies have added several guards and wing players to reshape the roster as in Tyreke Evans, Ben McLemore, Mario Chalmers and others. The starting lineup is predicated upon guys that will get the team off to a fast start offensively while not losing too much resilience on the defensive end. We look into this potential starting lineup.
PG: Mike Conley
Mike Conley returns to man the point guard position and leads a new style of offense under Head Coach David Fizdale. Conley is facing the challenge of picking up the pace which he flashed last season with a more athletic lineup that features him as the focal point and spacing as the theme. The All-Star guard plans to make a statement this season and bring the Grizzlies back to the playoffs.
SG: Tyreke Evans
The big question heading into training camp about Tyreke Evans is can he stay healthy throughout the duration of a full season? Before injuries took a toll on his knees, Tyreke was considered one of the best finishers at the rim in the NBA. He exhibited this ability while playing with the New Orleans Pelicans under then Head Coach Monty Williams. Over the past two seasons, he has worked extensively on his outside shooting particularly in spot-ups and catch-and-shoot situations. Despite missing majority of those years, he’s shown improvement in this area shooting 35.6% during the 2016-17 season as well. Having him play alongside Mike Conley will aid the team in pushing the tempo and definitely in the open court. In addition, he will open the floor up for Marc Gasol in PnR’s and Pick N’ Pop’s and pass out to other shooters when the defense double down.
SF: Chandler Parson
The incumbent Chandler Parsons is returning from another injury (meniscus tear) he suffered last March but appears to be fully recovered heading into this season. I expect Coach Fizdale to place him on a minutes restriction to reduce any chance of another injury occurring. Hopefully, Chandler can return back to his old form when he was with the Houston Rockets as a knockdown shooter.
PF: Jamychal Green
Re-signing Jamychal Green (2-year, $17 million deal) was huge for the Memphis Grizzlies. He’s an athletic, power forward that can space the floor and cover the opponent’s best defender. He fits perfectly next to Marc Gasol because of his ability to defend perimeter bigs and bang in the post. He has a decent post-game and face-up too. Look for the coaching staff to get him the ball more at the elbow, in the post and on drives to the rim.
C: Marc Gasol
Marc Gasol is the major piece in all of this because of the change in offensive philosophy. With the team becoming more uptempo, it is imperative that Gasol crashes the glass and pass out to the open guard or wing quickly. In addition, become more mobile during fastbreaks and getting back in transition. We know what he is offensively, but he will have to improve his footwork to keep up with the more athletic Centers and Power Forwards in the Western Conference.
Rotations will be monitored throughout training camp.