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Memphis Grizzlies point guard Mike Conley could evolve to a scorer off the ball in 2018-19.
Speaking to reporters at Team USA training camp in Las Vegas, Conley said playing more of an off-ball role is something he and the Grizzlies’ coaching staff have discussed.
“It’s definitely something they want me to do,” Conley said. “In the state I am in my career, it helps me as a guard and as a scorer to be able to sit off the ball and rest some possessions and knock down shots.”
Conley underwent surgery to smooth a small bone protrusion in his left heel in January and missed the rest of the 2017-18 season as a result. The 30-year-old only played in 12 games this past season, averaging 17.1 points and 4.1 assists while shooting 38.1 percent from the field and 31.2 percent from three.
Conley didn’t fully participate at Team USA minicamp, but said he’s feeling good and still on course to be ready for training camp in September.
“I’m doing really well,” Conley told reporters. “I wish I could’ve participated in contact stuff. I think I could, but we’re being cautious and allowing me to get a full summer of rehab. I should be ready to go by training camp — I expect to be ready.”
The Grizzlies signed Kyle Anderson this summer and expect the former San Antonio Spur to be a creator on the ball so that Conley doesn’t have to initiate Memphis’ offense every possession.
“When Kyle and anybody else on the ball make plays, I don’t have to make plays for myself,” Conley said. “I’m excited about that and I think it bodes well for my season and our team.”
Without Conley, the Grizzlies endured one of their worst seasons in franchise history. The team went 22-60, finishing with the second worst record in the Western Conference.
With the fourth overall pick in the 2018 NBA draft, the Grizzlies selected power forward Jaren Jackson Jr. from Michigan State.