3. Can Miller’s body hold up enough for him to make an impact? At 33, time is not on Miller’s side. Neither are his knees. Over the past four seasons, Miller has not played in more than 59 regular season games. Now, 59 games with Miller is enough to make him valuable to the Grizzlies, but there is no guarantee that Miller’s body will allow him to play that many games. His body has shut down on him sporadically over the last several years, and even when he is “healthy,” he can be seen grimacing and limping up and down the court.
No matter Miller’s health, given the Grizzlies 3-point shooting woes, it can’t hurt to have a career 41 percent shooter from deep on the roster. As previously stated, just a couple more threes a game will go a long way. Miller proved his worth in the playoffs last season for Miami (and the previous year in the close-out game) but at this point his career is just a ticking time bomb. Hopefully the Grizzlies can get one good season out of him before the clock strikes zero.
4. With Zach Randolph on the decline, is Ed Davis ready to be the power forward of the future? In 44 games with the Grizzlies, including playoffs, Davis flashed some ability that might make the Grizzlies believe he could eventually take Randolph’s place in the lineup after the big man either retires or becomes dead weight, which at this point is uncertain which will happen first. The problem with Davis is that he seldom flashes his ability and plays up to his potential. Davis’ lack of development has to be a concern for the Grizzlies. He can’t even seem to gain weight well.
Randolph might only have one good season left, and if Davis doesn’t make tremendous strides this season, the Grizzlies will have a real deficiency at the 4-spot going forward. Sure, this need can be filled either via draft or free agency. But neither of these options is incredibly viable for the Grizzlies in their current state.
As for the draft, the Grizzlies have a propensity to trade away their first-round pick every year, and even if they had one, it would likely be one of the last five or six spots in the first round. When it comes to free agency, it’s no secret that it is difficult to lure marquee free agents to small-market cities such as Memphis. This will make it near impossible to get a free agent power forward of Randolph’s caliber unless he comes as damaged goods – just like Randolph did.
Having to match up with the likes of Western Conference power forwards such as Kenneth Faried, Blake Griffin, Anthony Davis, Kevin Love and Serge Ibaka should be a concern for the Grizzlies, especially since the slender Ed Davis is all that is standing between them and the basket. It will be interesting to see if the Grizzlies try to address the problem now or later. With this new ownership group, don’t ever rule out the Grizzlies making a trade.
5. In a crowded backcourt, where does Jamaal Franklin fit? The easy answer would be he doesn’t. It’s unlikely that either Conley or Allen will have minutes taken from them, so Franklin’s PT will have to come from other bench players.
Sure, it’s realistic that Franklin could just sit on the bench this season and learn behind a deep group of veterans. However, someone with his skill set can be useful right now, and fans will be hoping Joerger doesn’t hamstring his development by relegating him to the end of the bench, because fans watched that happen time and again with Hollins at the helm, specifically with Tony Wroten.
The most likely person to suffer a decline in minutes is Jerryd Bayless. Despite his ability to catch fire at any given moment, Bayless is such a defensive liability that he can be detrimental to the game plan. Franklin is a guy that can do what Joerger wants, which is speed up the pace while playing great defense. At this point, that might as well be a qualification for any player before becoming a Grizzly.
Andrew Ford just graduated from the University of Tennessee-Knoxville with a degree in business management. He is a staff writer for SB Nation and a sportswriter intern for inRecruit. Follow him on Twitter.
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