The Memphis Grizzlies are a force in the Western Conference. They thrive off of teamwork and scaring teams off the defensive end. The Grizzlies gave up 95.1 points per game which was 0.2 points behind the Utah Jazz for the best in the NBA. Tony Allen was named to the 1st Team All-NBA Defensive team and is known as one of the best perimeter defenders in the NBA. They made a bold move before the trade deadline acquiring Jeff Green from the Boston Celtics who was having the best offensive season of his career. Green made them immediate contenders. When Zach Randolph returned from injury, the Grizzlies were hard to beat. He had a double-double in 13 out of 15 games upon return and the Grizzlies looked like the best team in the NBA not named the Golden State Warriors. They cooled down near the end of the season and went from the two seed to the five seed in the West. They demolished the Portland Trail Blazers in the first round of the playoffs, but lost Mike Conley when they faced the Golden State Warriors. Game 6 of the Western Conference semi-finals was the last game of the season for the Memphis Grizzlies. They will be looking for three point shooting, playoff experience, and a reliable scorer via draft or free agency. Lets see who could be Shelby County next season.
PF Kevon Looney, UCLA
I have read multiple mock drafts, and Kevon Looney has been as early as 12 and far as 26. He is an undersized power forward who is a thrasher to the offensive glass. Looney is a quick defender who always has a hands in opposing players faces. He can block shots and has the size to cover multiple positions. His shot is there and would be a nice floor spacer for a team that needs three point shooting help. The Grizzlies better pray he falls back to #25 in the draft.
C Guillermo Hernangomez, Spain
Guillermo Hernangomez is a big, strong, offensive gifted center from Spain. He reminds me of a Gasol brother. He is a draft and stash guy who needs to be in the right system. The Grizzlies found success with Marc and Pau Gasol which is why I believe Memphis is the perfect home for Hernangomez. He is smooth around the rim with fast feet and a nice jump hook. He is only 21 years old and making a lot of noise in Europe. If he goes to Memphis he needs to idol Marc Gasol’s every move.
SG RJ Hunter, Georgia State
The Memphis Grizzlies ended the 2015 NBA season in the bottom third of the league in three point shooting. R.J. Hunter is strictly a first round talent because of his three point shooting ability. He can shoot from any spot on the court and isn’t afraid to shoot. He stands 6’6″ with a longer wingspan which gives him the ability to shoot over the average shooting guard. He would come off of the bench which is great for a team that already knows it’s starting five. Drafting a bench shooter is never a bad idea.
C Marc Gasol, Memphis Grizzlies
This one is obvious. Marc Gasol is the face of the Memphis Grizzlies organization and the heart and soul of a really good team. He is now the best Gasol in the NBA. Gasol just had his best offensive season in 2015 averaging 17.4 points per game in the regular season and 19.7 points per game in the playoffs. Throughout his seven year career, durability hasn’t been a big issue. He is loyal to Memphis and I can’t see him leaving. Marc Gasol will get paid in whatever city he plays in.
SF DeMarre Carroll
Jeff Green was productive in his time in Memphis, but was an awkward fit in the starting lineup. He even asked to come off of the bench. Green has a player option on his current contract and is expected to opt out. Carroll was drafted by the Grizzlies in 2009. He is a better defender and three point shooter then Jeff Green who will cost around the same. Carroll was the best player on the Hawks in the playoffs and proved he can be a reliable scorer. The Grizzlies will quietly be in the hunt for DeMarre Carroll.
PF Brandon Bass, Boston Celtics
With Kosta Koufus hitting the free agent market, the Grizzlies will be on the prowl for a rotational big man. Brandon Bass is an athletic power forward to can cover multiple positions defensively. He has been a bench player and starter in his career who has played on competitive playoff teams who have made deep playoff runs. Bass is improving his three point game and developed a consistent mid-range jumper. Past Celtics like Courtney Lee, Jeff Green, and Tony Allen have found success in Memphis. I believe Bass would find success in Memphis.
The Grizzlies identity is on the line with Marc Gasol. They need to do all they can to keep him happy. Luckilly, money and loyalty won’t be an issue. The Grizzlies are a fantastic team heading in the right direction. Defense wins championships and their defense is one of the best in the NBA. If they can find some offensive firepower they will contend. They made it to the conference finals two seasons ago and the semi-finals last season. They are always lacking on the offensive end. Players want to play on a winning team and the Grizzlies have proven to be successful in the NBA. They need to be aggressive this offseason.
All statistics courtesy of ESPN.com