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2016-17 Season Preview: Memphis Grizzlies

Fran Blinebury

Fran Blinebury NBA.com

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Oct 12, 2016 1:02 PM ET

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No team was happier to see the 2015-16 season put in the rearview mirror than the Grizzlies. They were decimated by injuries from start to finish, eventually using an NBA record 28 different players. Now they’ve got a new coach in David Fizdale, new shooter in Chandler Parsons and are ready to roll again with the big boys in the West.

ICYMI

The relationship wore out and it was just time for a change at coach and now David Fizdale brings in his experience from Miami to get things jump-started ... They paid dearly for free agent Chandler Parsons, but if the small forward is healthy, the Grizzlies finally have the shooting wingman they’ve needed since Rudy Gay’s departure.

THREE POINTS

  1. More than anything, the Grizzlies need to stay healthy. Of current rosters, only the New York Knicks and Brooklyn Nets played fewer total minutes last season than the wounded Grizzlies.Gasol says he’s ready to be better than ever. Parsons is still on the mend following surgery.
     
  2. Point guard Mike Conley got his payday with the richest contract in NBA history. Now he has to stand up to the grind of playing all those minutes. Grizzlies are going with the green Andrew Harrison and Wade Baldwin behind Conley.
     
  3. Here we go again. New coach David Fizdale says he wants to push the pace, get down the floor and score easy buckets. The difference this time around is that Memphis might actually have enough young legs and shooters to do it.

MAN ON THE SPOT

Mike Conley has been perennially underrated for years. In a Western Conference loaded with point guards, he hasn’t even been able to make an All-Star team. Now that big, big contract will place added spotlight and burden on him. The last couple of seasons have virtually worn him out physically.

STARTING FIVE

Mike Conley | 15.3 ppg, 2.9 rpg, 6.1 apg
Huge contract, next step playing in the All-Star Game.

Tony Allen | 8.4 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 1.1 apg
Age hasn’t take the edge off those sharp defensive fangs.

Marc Gasol | 16.6 ppg, 7.0 rpg, 3.8 apg
Back from foot surgery and ready to pass, shoot and rumble in middle again.

Chandler Parsons | 13.7 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 2.8 apg
Two knee surgeries, might not be ready for season opener.

Zach Randolph | 15.3 ppg, 7.8 rpg, 2.1 apg
The tides, gravity, Z-Bo:  things you can always count on.

KEY RESERVES

Vince Carter | 6.6 ppg, 2.4 rpg, 0.9 apg
Still making an impact on games at 39.

JaMychael Green | 7.4 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 0.9 apg
Spent much of the summer working on his 3-pointer shot.

Brandan Wright | 6.9 ppg, 3.6 rpg, 0.5 apg
Long, lean and, if healthy, wants to run the floor.

THE BOTTOM LINE

Grit and grind philosophy got the Grizzlies to 56, 50 and 55 wins from 2013-15 and there’s no reason to think they can’t get back to that level as long as the bottom doesn’t fall out again in the health department. They’re a top 4 seed in West.

Fran Blinebury has covered the NBA since 1977. You can e-mail him here and follow him on Twitter.

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