Here we are in the 2015-16 season, analytics are running rampant in the NBA, and more teams are increasing the amount of three pointers they shoot. One team has decided to forego the movement to three pointers and keep their big, tough lineup. This team is, of course, the Memphis Grizzlies.
Their formula hasn’t been so bad to the point that they miss the playoffs, but it hasn’t come close to winning a championship. In a debate about the best front court in the league, the Grizzlies will always come up in the conversation, but when talking about the back court they’re never mentioned. One key aspect to their game has been missing for the last few seasons, and that has been the common factor in their demise during the playoffs. The defense has been top ten and even top five, but obviously if you can’t score, you can’t win.
Going back to the 2013-14 season, the Grizzlies were ranked dead last in both three pointers made and three pointers attempted. Out of all of their players who shot more than 50 threes, the only person to shoot better than 37% was Mike Miller. Then, the next season, which was last season, the Grizzlies stepped their game up and moved their ranking up one whole spot. They finished second-to-last in threes made and threes attempted. This time, they had two players shoot better than 37% from three, but only one made it to the 40% mark.
That brings us to this season. They signed Matt Barnes, who only shot 36% from three last season with the Clippers, and there hasn’t been much evidence so far of anyone improving in their three point shooting. However, there have been rumors about the Grizzlies talking a trade with the Heat to bring in Mario Chalmers. Chalmers is shooting 36% from three in his career so far, and has only reached the 40% mark in one season. Sure, he may be a nice piece to have on the bench, but he’s not going to single-handedly fix the Grizzlies shooting woes.
As long as the Grizzlies decide to not catch up with the times, they’re going to seriously struggle to achieve their championship aspirations. The NBA is in an era where there needs to be deadly shooters surrounding your dominant big men. Otherwise, you’re just going to be dead in the water like Memphis was when Stephen Curry and the Warriors came to town.