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NBA 2016-17 Team Preview – Memphis Grizzlies: A New Type of Grind

By Tamberlyn Richardson
Oct 26, 2016; Memphis, TN, USA; Memphis Grizzlies guard Mike Conley (11) reacts after the play against the Minnesota Timberwolves during the second half at FedExForum. Memphis Grizzlies defeated the Minnesota Timberwolves 102-98. Mandatory Credit: Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 26, 2016; Memphis, TN, USA; Memphis Grizzlies guard Mike Conley (11) reacts after the play against the Minnesota Timberwolves during the second half at FedExForum. Memphis Grizzlies defeated the Minnesota Timberwolves 102-98. Mandatory Credit: Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports
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Oct 26, 2016; Memphis, TN, USA; Memphis Grizzlies guard Mike Conley (11) reacts after the play against the Minnesota Timberwolves during the second half at FedExForum. Memphis Grizzlies defeated the Minnesota Timberwolves 102-98. Mandatory Credit: Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 26, 2016; Memphis, TN, USA; Memphis Grizzlies guard Mike Conley (11) reacts after the play against the Minnesota Timberwolves during the second half at FedExForum. Memphis Grizzlies defeated the Minnesota Timberwolves 102-98. Mandatory Credit: Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

 NBA 2016-17 Team Preview – Memphis Grizzlies seek to find a new type of “grind”.

To prepare our readers for the regular season SCS  offers a series entitled NBA 2016-17 Team Preview for each of the Houston Rockets’ 29 opponents.  Who will return to the playoffs? Which team will fall from grace and who will be the Cinderella team?

Included in each profile:

  • Where the team finished 2015-16
  • Key 2015-16 stats
  • Future draft pick status
  • Current and future salary rank
  • Off Season Moves
  • 2017 Free Agents
  • Schedule, NBA League Pass and Win Projection Ranking
  • Team Overview entering season (Starting 5, reserves and notable injuries)
  • When each team will play the Houston Rockets
  • Strengths, Weaknesses and Prediction

NBA 2016-17 Team Preview now looks at a Houston Rockets Southwest rival the Memphis Grizzlies who look to add a youthful spin to  “the grind”.

Oct 26, 2016; Memphis, TN, USA; Memphis Grizzlies center Marc Gasol (33) reacts after the play during the second half against the Minnesota Timberwolves at FedExForum. Memphis Grizzlies defeated the Minnesota Timberwolves 102-98. Mandatory Credit: Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

NBA 2016-17 Team Preview Memphis Grizzlies:

2015-16 Record: 42- 40

Playoffs:

Lost NBA Western Conference First Round (0-4) versus San Antonio Spurs

Points Per Game: 99.1 (24th )

Opponent Points Per Game:  101.3 (11th)

Pace: 93.3 (27th )

Offensive Rank: 105.4 (19th )

Defensive Rank:  107.8 (19th)

Three Point Rank:  33.1% (29th)

Rebounds: 41.6  (28th)

Assists: 20.7 (25th)

Steals: 8.8 (6th)

Blocks: 4.3 (21st)

Turnovers: 13.3 (6th)

Next: Future postioning - draft, free agents

Apr 24, 2016; Memphis, TN, USA; Memphis Grizzlies forward Zach Randolph (50) and guard Vince Carter (15) during the first half against the San Antonio Spurs in game four of the first round of the NBA Playoffs at FedExForum. Mandatory Credit: Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

2017 Free Agents

Restricted:

  • JaMychal Green

Unrestricted:

Future Draft Picks

See Real GM for full details:

Incoming:

  • 2017 second round draft pick from Miami Miami’s 2nd round pick to Memphis protected for selections 41-60 in 2017 and unprotected in 2018 [Charlotte-Memphis-Miami, 2/16/2016]
  • 2018 second round draft pick from Charlotte
  • 2019 second round draft pick from Boston
  • 2019 second round draft pick from Brooklyn

Outgoing:

  • 2017 first round draft pick to Denver Memphis’ 1st round pick to Denver (via Cleveland) protected for selections 1-5 in 2017 and 1-5 in 2018 and unprotected in 2019 [Cleveland-Memphis, 1/22/2013; Cleveland-Denver, 1/7/2015]
  • 2017 second round draft pick to Denver Memphis’ 2nd round pick to Denver (via Oklahoma City) protected for selections 31-35 in 2017 and unprotected in 2018 [Boston-Memphis-Oklahoma City, 1/7/2014; Denver-Oklahoma City, 8/30/2016]
  • 2019 first round draft pick to Boston

Average Age of Team: 27 years

Next: Off Season Moves

Oct 11, 2016; Memphis, TN, USA; Memphis Grizzlies guard Wade Baldwin IV (4) drives against Philadelphia 76ers guard Sergio Rodriguez (14) in the second half at FedExForum. Memphis defeated Philadelphia 121-91. Mandatory Credit: Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

Draft Picks

Round 1: Wade Baldwin (17),

Round 2: Deyonta Davis (31), Rade Zagorac (35), Wang Zhelin (57)
 & Davis and Zagorac come from trade with Celtics for a 2019 first-round pick

2016 Free Agents prior to July 1, 2016:

Unrestricted:

  • Mike Conley
  • Chris Andersen
  • Matt Barnes
  • Jordan Farmar
  • PJ Hairston
  • Ray McCallum
  • Lance Stephenson

Restricted: Xavier Munford

Moves made following July 1, 2016:

Incoming:

Exiting: 

Re-upping:

Next: Schedule, League Pass, Win Projection Rankings

Oct 15, 2016; Houston, TX, USA; Memphis Grizzlies forward JaMychal Green (0) guards Houston Rockets guard K.J. McDaniels (32) during the first quarter at the Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 15, 2016; Houston, TX, USA; Memphis Grizzlies forward JaMychal Green (0) guards Houston Rockets guard K.J. McDaniels (32) during the first quarter at the Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Oct 15, 2016; Houston, TX, USA; Memphis Grizzlies forward JaMychal Green (0) guards Houston Rockets guard K.J. McDaniels (32) during the first quarter at the Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Vegas over-under for wins: 43.5

Schedule strength:

As ranked by ESPN: 13th with 0.82 extra wins

Eight of the Grizzlies’ 17 back-to-backs finish in Memphis and they will play 12 road games on two or more days of rest. That’s two more long-rest road matches than any other team in the league.

Games versus Rockets:

  • Friday December 23rd at FedExForum, Memphis, TN at 8PM EST
  • Friday January 13th at Toyota Center in Houston, TX at 8 PM EST
  • Saturday January 21st at FedExForum, Memphis, TN at 8PM EST
  • Saturday March 4th at Toyota Center in Houston, TX at 9 PM EST

Zach Lowe NBA League Pass Rank: 17th

This is the lowest-ever ranking for the team bringing Marc Gasol’s unmatched high -post ingenuity and Tony Allen’s Tony Allen-ness. After so many years, we can close our eyes and visualize every step of every 24-second, half-court slog involving the Grizzlies’ famed Core Four: Mike Conley’s in-and-out dribbles and righty teardrops, Zach Randolph’s jab-step dance on the right block, Gasol’s underhanded bowling ball passes, and Allen’s can’t-watch-but-can’t-look-away fast- break adventures.

Next: Team Overview

Sep 26, 2016; Memphis, TN, USA; Memphis Grizzlies forward Chandler Parsons (25) poses for a picture at Don Poier Media Center. Mandatory Credit: Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

2016 Committed Salary

2016: $108,927,062 – 6th ranked

2017: $90,847,166 – 8th ranked

Team Salary Ranking as per Hoops Hype, and team salary overview also via Hoops Hype

Starting 5:

Point Guard:   Mike Conley – 15.3 points,   6.1 assists, 2.9 rebounds

Shooting Guard:  Tony Allen | 8.4  points, 1.1 assists, 4.6 rebounds (Note: Allen remains on the disabled list, so won’t begin the season for the Grizzlies. It’s unknown is Fizdale will start him or have him come off the bench when he returns)

Small Forward:  Chandler Parsons – 13.7 points, 2.8  assists, 4.7 rebounds

Power Forward:   Zach Randolph – 15.3 points, 2.1 assists, 7.8 rebounds (Note: Randolph is expected to come off the bench and with JaMychal Green performing so well and offering an opportunity for a faster pace he’s likely to get the start)

Center:  Marc Gasol – 16.6 points, 3.8 assists, 7.0 rebounds

Reserves:

Guards:  Andrew Harrison, Wade Baldwin IV

Wings: James Ennis, Vince Carter, Troy Williams, Troy Daniels

Bigs: JaMychal Green, Deyonta Davis, Brandan Wright, Jarell Martin

Injury News:

  • Wade Baldwin – knee, did not play in last contest, day to day
  • Brandan Wright – ankle, is ruled out for opener
  • Tony Allen – knee, was downgraded to questionable for opener
  • Jarell Martin – foot, will not play in opener
  • Chandler Parsons – knee, will not play in opener

All injury news as per rotoworld

Next: Strengths, Weaknesses, Prediction

Oct 26, 2016; Memphis, TN, USA; Memphis Grizzlies guard Mike Conley (11) and Memphis Grizzlies head coach David Fizdale during the second half against the Minnesota Timberwolves at FedExForum. Memphis Grizzlies defeated the Minnesota Timberwolves 102-98. Mandatory Credit: Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

Strengths:

Established Core: Consistency is one of the main pluses of this Grizzlies squad. The 4 main guys (Conley, Gasol, ZBo and  Allen) know each other very well. Last season many of the youngsters got minutes due to all the injuries in a trial by fire situation. If they can take that experience and marry their talents to the core it will offer quick benefits.

ZBo moves to bench: This move feels like the right choice as it offers Fizdale an opportunity to speed up the starting line-ups pace. In addition Randolph will see an advantage facing reserve bigs. Hey everyone knows ZBo  can’t jump and will always go in one direction even if he fakes the other way. Now he’ll face reserve players who no doubt he’ll fool like he has been starting bigs for years.

Chemistry: Having a solid chemistry can never be under estimated or discounted. These guys all like each other and it’s obvious. I know that thought can be countered by – all that matters is if the team plays as a unit. From my perspective though teams which showcase solid chemistry are more likely to go the extra mile for each other if they do like and respect each other.

Houston fans have seen the difference this season in terms of how happy everyone seemed right away in training camp. Many of the Rockets discussed how last season was stressful and not a happy environment. Kudos to Harden for bringing the group together this offseason to get an early start on building those bonds. When the Rockets play a team like Memphis it’s important they can offer talent and a happy crew especially since they’ll face each other 4 teams this season since they are Southwest Division members.

More from Space City Scoop

Weaknesses:

Health: After a season that saw Memphis trot out more variations of line-ups then any other opponent it’s crucial they keep themselves healthy. Their big free agent signing (Chandler Parsons) will start the season on the injured reserved list, so hopefully that’s not a harbinger of things to come.

New Grind- Old Grind: As the title suggests it’s time for the Grizzlies to tweak their grind house style. That certainly doesn’t mean they have to change completely, but with the Association shifting to increased pace, more 3 point shots and position-less ball it’s important Memphis don’t get stuck in the past. With the signing of David Fizdale the mandate is to increase the pace in order to join the new generation. If Memphis can integrate both elements by utilizing more of  their youth they’ll be laughing come April when the game shifts to the half court style in the post season. Getting there healthy and successfully implementing those new tweaks will be the challenge.

Wing Depth: Having not seen much of the Grizzlies in preseason I wondered whether they were already in trouble given Parsons still being on the injured list. But, a big fan of Memphis tells me their youngsters have taken big steps this summer.  If true it bodes well for Memphis who already have a solid core of vets.

Prediction:

All reports out of Memphis say their youngsters are ready to take a step and based on the little I’ve seen of the Grizz I’d agree. My one question is by speeding up the offense does it affect their defense. Doing so is critical to where they finish this season.  More importantly is whether the Grizz can stay healthy.

Best Case: the integration of sped up pace and youngsters brings the Grizzlies into the new millennium of the NBA. Grizz retain their defensive prowess and health and finish somewhere between 4 – 6 seed.

Worst Case: Grizz lose some of their defense to incorporate pace and offense and get hit by injury again and finish just outside the playoffs.

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Next: 2016 Timberwolves Team Preview - The Organic Super Team

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