Five Things To Watch: Memphis Grizzlies

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.

Jamaal Franklin5. 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.


  1. says

    I wish I had the data required to study usage and encifiefcy because my feeling is that this is one of those areas where what’s true in most cases is not true in all cases.1. I think usage typically tends to vary with the development of a player’s shooting range and other offensive skills. Things like better ball handling, post moves, finishing ability and general shot creation allow for greater usage with similar or better results. So if you study a group of players and chart an increase in usage without a corresponding decrease in encifiefcy, you may actually be charting an increase in overall skill that allowed for greater usage (and vice versa) and not that usage doesn’t matter. 2. As I mentioned in a previous thread, a small increase in the number of shots is not going to cause a huge decrease in overall encifiefcy. If a player’s eFG% is 50% and he adds 2-3 shots per 36 minutes, it’s not like the next group is going to be made up of 10% shots. It may be made up of 45% shots and not move the overall encifiefcy needle much at all. It may take a more extreme change in usage to have a clearly measurable impact. 3. Sometimes I like to use simple common sense and think about how these things would impact me or players whose game I am familiar with. For example, Renaldo Balkman is a fairly low usage efficient player with almost no outside shot. He’s also a poor free throw shooter. I ask myself. With his limited scoring skill set, do I think he could add 1-2 shots per 36 and remain as efficient? I’d say easily. 3-4?Maybe. 5-6?No way.Do I think Lebron James could add 5-6? Absolutely? 7-9? Perhaps.15? No way.

  2. Andy says

    Andrew, nice article and Griz nation can’t wait for the season to start.

    A few criticisms:
    1. You don’t even mention Kosta Koufus, who started 81 games for the 57-win Nuggets.
    Can’t overstate the importance of his acquisition, as Griz fans held their breath and
    watch leads quickly evaporate anytime Gasol went to the bench for a breather.
    And Koufus is signed at only $3M per year for the next 2 years, and only cost the
    Griz a deteriorating Darrell Arthur and a 2nd round pick. Genuis trade.
    2. A whole section on Jamaal Franklin – who the Griz were happy to take at pick 41 –
    but who will likely be the 13th player on team this year? A focus on Quincy Pondexter
    would have been much more appropriate. Along with Miller, Quincy will be counted
    to improve team 3-point shooting and spacing. Most think he will have the most
    minutes off the bench and eventually replace Tayshaun Prince.
    3. Many of the current players did not like Lionel Hollins – Ed Davis, Jarryd Bayless
    (hard to imagine Joerger shoving a player like Hollins did Bayless last year), Tony
    Allen, Jon Leuer and Zach. These guys were professionals and did not complain to
    the media, and of course the team was winning so that kept the lid on discontent.
    Hollins had his favorites and everyone knew who they were. It will be interesting to
    see how these players perform under the new coach.


  1. […] Andrew Ford of Sheridan Hoops runs down five things to watch when it comes to the Grizzlies this season.  One of the keys for Memphis will be Mike Miller and it’ll be interesting to see if the returning veteran can hold up enough to make an impact.  The 33-year-old has dealt with a litany of health issues in recent years and was let go via the amensty provision by Miami this summer. […]

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