Friday, November 22, 2013

Five Quick Friday Thoughts on Grizzlies vs. Spurs

Posted By on Fri, Nov 22, 2013 at 10:11 AM

When is Jerryd Bayless going to get moved back off the ball?

I'm kind of crunched for time this morning, but I didn't want to let tonight's game against the San Antonio Spurs pass without mentioning a few things about it. Herewith, five quick thoughts:

1. Tonight is going to tell us a lot about whether the Grizzlies' bench additions are going to be able to space the floor against the Spurs, who essentially wrote the book on how to dismantle this Grizzlies team during the Western Conference Finals last year. We know, despite his exceptional level of play on the West Coast road trip, that Zach Randolph has struggled with the Spurs since the 2011 playoffs. The Spurs defend Randolph exceptionally well, and caused all kinds of problems for the Grizzlies in the paint during the playoffs last year. It's going to be up to the perimeter players—and new addition Mike Miller—to prevent the Spurs from being able to, you know, put five guys all in the lane when Zach Randolph touches the ball. Miller and Quincy Pondexter have been shooting pretty poorly so far, but if they can make a difference tonight, they'll make it much easier for the Grizzlies' dominating big men to breathe.

2. Mike Conley vs. Tony Parker has the potential to be as much fun to watch as Marc Gasol vs. Tim Duncan, and I think Gasol vs. Duncan is close to the pinnacle of basketball. Conley's play this season has been incredible, and Parker is Tony Parker. With any luck we'll get a good show out of those two tonight.

3. He may not do it tonight, since the Grizzlies are playing the Spurs, but some time soon, Dave Joerger is going to need to add a fourth big to the frontcourt rotation. I said in my Warriors recap that it should be Ed Davis, and the comments were flooded with votes in favor of Jon Leuer. I want to say for the record that I don't think that's a bad idea at all. I think Davis plays better when he's in the game for a longer period of time than 5 to 10 minutes, but I also understand the folks who think he's just... not the guy. I get that. Either way, I'd like to see somebody in addition to Gasol, Randolph, and Kosta Koufos to soak up some minutes. It's a long season.

4. I still like Jerryd Bayless better off the ball. Calathes is going to improve, and playing him against good teams is a way to make that happen. I've broken out the #FreeCalathes hashtag on Twitter before, but ideally, for me, Calathes will be the backup point guard by January or February and Bayless can return to his off-the-ball Bayless 'tude. I like Bayless best when he's fearless, and he's not fearless when he's trying to facilitate.

5. Linkbait: I did a Fraternizing with the Enemy Q&A with my friends over at SB Nation's Spurs blog Pounding the Rock. I felt like it was a good conversation, and PtR does excellent work, so check that out.

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