Five things to know about the Grizzlies on the first day of their regular season.
1. Marc Gasol will consistently be aggressive and maintain his prominence as the best center in the league. He has been given the reigns as the leader of the team. How he goes, so goes the team. As long as he stays healthy and consistent, the Grizzlies will be hard to beat. Gasol should averaged 20 points or more for the season and put up career highs in many areas. He is the man on the team and it will show. And one-hundred million looks good on him.
2. The small forward position still will be an issue unless Jeff Green is consistent. He is too indecisive at times. He just doesn’t play well with Gasol and Zach Randolph because they clog up the paint. His outside jumper is broken. Green needs to be more aggressive and not passive and be the player the Grizzlies traded for.
Also, Matt Barnes and Tony Allen should probably start at small forward based on the matchups with other teams. But at the end of the games, both should be on the floor for their defensive presence.
3. The Grizzlies are an inside-out team. Most of their scoring comes in the paint. Three-point shooting has not been a strong suit for this team. Courtney Lee has to continue to up his game and not be afraid to shoot when he’s open. He shouldn’t defer the Gasol, Randolph or Conley when he’s open. When the shot is there, he should take it. Last season, the Grizzlies consistently won when Lee was a major part of the offense. This year, it shouldn’t be any different. I keep waiting for him to score in double figures and consistently, like the other shooting guards.
4. The jury is still out on the bench. The defense should be out of this world but the offense has me worried. I have more questions than answers when it comes to the bench. Where will the shooting come from? How well have Vince Carter and Beno Udrih healed from their injuries? Can Brandan Wright and JyMychal Green play well together on offense?
5. The West is loaded with a number of great teams and the Grizzlies have a chance to sit at the table with the elite. Barring any major injuries, the Grizzlies should be in the top five. Continuity is a factor in this. They know each other and know how to get it done. I just wonder will the Grind be enough to reach the Finals.
Sharon Brown covers the Grizzlies and NBA for Amico Hoops.