SCOUTING REPORT: MEMPHIS GRIZZLIES
Mike Conley, PG (6-1, 185).”Mike Conley is a completely underrated defender,” the Western Conference executive said. “He’s one of the best point-guard defenders in the league. He baits bigs into not seeing him coming and digs down on them [for steals].” … “It’s more freelancing almost,” he continued. “He has a terrific nose for the ball.”…
Tony Allen, SG (6-4, 213). ”The face of the defense is Tony Allen,” the executive said. “He can impact games on the defensive end of the floor [the way most players do offensively].” … Allen was named the best perimeter defender in NBA.com’s annual survey of league general managers, garnering 33.3% of the vote. … He’s a two-time NBA All-Defense selection, including being chosen as a first-team member after the 2011-12 season.
Rudy Gay, SF (6-8, 230). “Rudy Gay is one of the most talented players in the NBA. He has guard skill yet he’s 6-8. You want to put size on him but he’s too quick for that. You want to put quickness on him but he’s too big for that.” … “He can shoot over you without noticing the defender’s there,” he added. “He’s kind of comparable to Carmelo [Anthony] and LeBron [James] and that’s some great company.” … “You have to be able to guard him with multiple guys. The key is making him work, making him have to guard, and work to get tough looks. If he’s hitting tough shots, you have to tip your hat at the end of the day.” … “He poses a real problem.”
Zach Randolph, F (6-9, 255). “Both bigs [Gasol and Randolph] can go out to 15-17 feet and Randolph can go out to 3-point line once in a while.” … “Gasol and Randolph find each other in the low post. They are the best high-low team in the league.” … Randolph had surgery in January to repair a torn medial collateral ligament in his right knee. … He scored in double figures four times this preseason, including 18 points on Oct. 24 versus Orlando.
Marc Gasol, C (7-1, 265). “He has a phenomenal skill set for a guy his size,” he said. … “They run a lot of screen roll to get the ball in the post, which is kind of unusual,” the executive said about the Grizzlies’ half-court offense prior to last season’s playoff series.
KEY BENCH PLAYERS
Marreese Speights, F/C (6-10, 255). “Speights is a knock down shooter from 17-18 feet,” the executive said. “You have to be aware of the skills that he brings.” … Speights started 54 of the 60 games he appeared in last regular season while Randolph recovered from knee surgery. … According to HoopData.com, most of Speights’ shots come either at the rim or from the 16-23 feet range. Last season he made 47% of his field goal attempts outside of 16 feet.
Jerryd Bayless, G (6-3, 200). “Bayless is a little powerhouse who is in attack mode at all times.” … “He kind of keeps you on the heels, attacking in the screen-and-roll or on the break or driving lanes.” … “He creates energy in a different way than O.J. Mayo.” … The executive said that Mayo, who signed as a free agent with the Mavericks, is more of a flat-out scorer, Bayless gets the job done by attacking.
Wayne Ellington, G (6-4, 200). “Ellington is a catch and shoot guy.” … In three seasons with the Wolves, Ellington made 37.6% of his 3-pointers, including topping 39% twice. … He was acquired by the Grizzlies this summer in exchange for Dante Cunningham. … The executive said Ellington provides a new element for the Grizzlies bench, an ability to space the floor.
NOTES ON MEMPHIS
- They are extremely physical offensively and defensively. “Tony Allen is kind of the leader at that,” the executive said. “If you don’t come in with your hard hat on you’re going to get smacked. If you don’t come with the mentality that you’re going to meet this challenge, they’re just going to outwork you.”
He said that Conley is an underrated part of their defense. “He’s a menace, getting in passing lanes, freelancing. He has great defensive instincts and allows them to get out and run and create turnovers.” Last season, the Grizzlies were the league’s best team at creating turnovers, forcing 16.9 per game.
- Bigs play extremely well together. “They eat and live in the paint, whether it’s actual shots or offensive rebounding,” the executive said of Randolph and Gasol. “They pass well to each other and read well. If you’re trying to take away a Randolph post up, Gasol does a good job of flashing.” Overall, the executive said Randolph and Gasol make the Grizzlies one of the league’s best high-low teams and he added, “They’re the best at reading and countering.”