Blogtable
Blogtable
Blogtable
Blogtable

Blogtable: How would you get Memphis Grizzlies back on track?

Each week, we ask our scribes to weigh in on the most important NBA topics of the day.

From NBA.com Staff

Nov 29, 2017 10:21 AM ET

 

What is next for Memphis it the wake of David Fizdale's firing?

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If you were interim coach J.B. Bickerstaff, what's the first thing you would do to get the Memphis Grizzlies back on track this season?

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Steve AschburnerWe’ll assume that firing the owner is above Bickerstaff’s pay grade. And J.B. doesn’t even play a doctor on TV, so there’s not much he can do about Mike Conley’s health or Chandler Parsons’ fragility. He can try to be the anti-David Fizdale to ingratiate himself at least with Marc Gasol, but that bears risks, too -- you don't want to pull a 180 from a coach as well-regarded as Memphis' former bench boss is. So maybe Bickerstaff should just pin down the Grizzlies’ front office to accurately define what “on track this season” actually means. I don’t recall picking Memphis to even qualify for the postseason, given the departures from last season. A new track altogether – trading Gasol, joining the ever-popular race to the bottom in search of lottery balls – might be the Grizzlies' best bet. Bickerstaff can thus join some of the league’s other loyal soldiers like Brett Brown, Luke Walton and Fred Hoiberg in putting the organization’s long-term vision ahead of his personal W-L record. Not that he might have much choice, from the looks of things.

Shaun Powell: First thing: Squash any and all temptation to bench Marc Gasol.Once that's done, he must follow his instincts about putting the right lineup on the floor even if that means benching anyone besides Gasol. The Grizzlies lack an identity and they're still searching for steady point guard play with Mike Conley hurting. Shuffle the lineup and find the right combination and perhaps more emphasis on Tyreke Evans and Dillon Brooks.

John Schuhmann: I would have a sit-down with Marc Gasol, and not just because it's apparent that Gasol's relationship with David Fizdale had something to do with the coach getting fired. Gasol just hasn't been as good as he was last season and the Grizz have been at their best (plus-8.1 points per 100 possessions) with him off the floor, a data point that Fizdale was probably aware of when Gasol sat the entire fourth quarter on Sunday. There are other issues (like Mike Conley's health and the lack of shooting), but those are mostly out of the coach's control at this point.

Sekou Smith: Pray to the NBA health higher powers to heal Mike Conley, sooner rather than later. I know Marc Gasol's numbers suggest otherwise, but Conley is the guy that makes the Grizzlies go. When he's at his best (and due to injuries that hasn't been nearly often enough), they go to another level. So getting Conley back in the lineup and keeping him there is the best path out of this current mess. There is no magic button for Bickerstaff or anyone else to push to fix what's ailing this team. There needs to be a sober examination of what this roster is capable of and perhaps then everyone in Memphis will get on the same page. In the meantime, a healthy starting point guard would be enough.


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