How Will the Grizzlies Deal With All The "Small Ball" Around the NBA?
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The short answer to this is they won’t. Now I’m not saying they’re going to throw up their hands in forfeit every time they face a team more interested in letting it fly from deep then pack the paint. But for Memphis, their only hope is to simply impose their will. The Memphis Grizzlies’ strengths are the same as they were in previous seasons. They throw the ball into the post to Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol and let the offense work through them. They’re built to support this style.
Mike Conley is a playmaker that doesn’t need the ball in his hands to contribute. He’s the floor general who makes sure the offense runs the right sets so they can get the looks they want. Not the looks the opposition gives them. Courtney Lee is a deadly mid-range shooter with a three point shot. He’s there to keep the defense honest so they don’t just pack the paint. And then there’s Tony Allen. Yea his jump shot is pathetic, even laughable. But he’s important, and not just on the defensive end. Tony is the wild card. He’s the cutter who makes guys pay for cheating off him. He’s the guy who somehow ends up with the offensive rebound. He wants it more. He keeps the ball moving, keeps the energy high. These are the Memphis Grizzlies, take em’ or leave em’.
Will this style of play be Memphis’ downfall? Maybe. As evidenced in their playoff elimination last year to the Golden State Warriors, Memphis just doesn’t have the shooting to light up the scoreboard. They rely on their defense to spark their offence. They play in the mud, not the air. So when the league goes small to gain a speed advantage, Memphis is just going to have to do better to exploit their height advantage. They can’t adapt to the style of play. They need to stay true to their identity. All heart, grit and grind.