Grizzlies looking to make another run
(The Sports Network) The Memphis Grizzlies had their best season in franchise history, but made one of the more puzzling moves in the offseason after deciding not to renew Lionel Hollins' contract.
Despite the fantastic finish, the Grizzlies were swept from the Western Conference Finals by the San Antonio Spurs, leaving Hollins' job in limbo.
It's not typical for a team that finished better than ever had before to let their leader walk, but the Grizzlies did just that.
Dave Joerger will replace Hollins as the team's head coach after spending the past five seasons as an assistant.
Luckily for Joerger, he will have all of Memphis' key players back as the Grizzlies make another run at a championship.
While Memphis' roster looks mostly the same, the Grizzlies added three-point specialist Mike Miller. Memphis finished dead last in three-pointers made with just 4.7 per game. Miller is a career 40.6 percent shooter from behind the arc.
The Grizzlies will still rely on Marc Gasol, Zach Randolph and Mike Conley to carry the majority of the workload.
Conley had the best season of his career, averaging 14.6 ppg, 6.1 apg and 2.2 spg before emerging in the playoffs as one of the best point guards in the NBA. Conley averaged 17 points and 7.1 assists over 15 postseason games.
Randolph led the Grizzlies with 15.4 ppg and 11.2 rpg last season. After a rocky start to his career, Randolph has morphed into one of, if not, the best, power forwards in the league.
Who's In/Who's Out
Additions: Mike Miller, Kosta Koufos, Josh Akognon, Nick Calathes, Dave Joerger (coach)
Losses: Darrell Arthur, Austin Daye, Keyon Dooling, Lionel Hollins (coach)
Gasol, the reigning Defensive Player of the Year, has continued to be the unsung hero for this team, providing quite possibly the best all-around game in the league. Gasol can beat you inside, then step out and knock down a jumper. He can rebound with anyone in the league and plays some of the stiffest defense in the NBA. All-the-while providing his teammates with countless looks as the NBA's top passing big man.
The Best in the West?
Rocketing Up the Standings
Fighting For A High Seed
Up and Coming
The Grizzlies are built on defence and despite Gasol's recognition it all starts with Tony Allen.
Allen is one of the league's best on-ball defenders. He can take any team's superstar out of the game with his tenacity on the defensive end. He may not have the best offensive game, but will more than make up for it on D.
With Allen spearheading the defense, Memphis held opponents to an NBA-best 89.3 points per game on 43.5 percent shooting.
In the frontcourt, Gasol and Randolph form one of the top combination of big men in the league as each possesses a unique set of skills offensively to stretch the floor.
Mike Conley meanwhile could be the most underrated point guard in the league.
The Not So Good
The biggest question mark surrounding the team is Joerger. After serving as an assistant under Hollins for the past five season, it is likely Joerger will implement a similar style for the Grizzlies this season.
This is a good team and hopefully the coaching change does not have any unwanted negative side effects.
Another question mark will be how much Mike Miller can realistically be counted on for production?
He is an elite shooter but has had back problems and at times looks like a 90-year-old man running up and down the floor. It's tough to imagine him giving the Grizzlies consistent production on a nightly basis
What To Expect
Memphis improved its bench, but is tweaking its system. With the offense geared toward more possessions and shots early in the clock, the Grizzlies have a chance to take a step forward offensively.
While Joerger will look to change the offense a bit, it is still instrumental to this team to play defense at a high level. Spacing the floor will only help Randolph and Gasol thrive, and a faster-paced game is more suitable for Conley, a speedy guard.
Look for Memphis to compete for the Western Conference crown once again.