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Memphis Grizzlies: Ranking O.J. Mayo, Rest of Bench After Release of Josh Davis

Tom FirmeAnalyst IIFebruary 9, 2012

Memphis Grizzlies: Ranking O.J. Mayo, Rest of Bench After Release of Josh Davis

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    The Memphis Grizzlies picked up a sleepy 85-80 win at home against the Minnesota Timberwolves on Wednesday.

    They did it with a significant amount of help from their bench. With Marc Gasol, Marreese Speights and Mike Conley struggling to hit shots, Dante Cunningham scored in double figures and Jeremy Pargo dropped a few buckets.

    O.J. Mayo did his usual double-digit scoring job.

    The Grizzlies have a nice bench set. O.J. Mayo is a solid all-around player off the bench. Others like Cunningham are pretty decent, although most people wouldn't be able to pick them out of a crowd.

    On Thursday, the Grizzlies released forward Josh Davis in a quiet transaction. Davis, a three-year pro from Wyoming who bounced around NBA camps for a few years before making it with the Grizzlies, had averaged 1.9 points and 1.8 rebounds per game in 15 games. He had only played two NBA games prior to 2011-12.

    That leaves the Grizzlies with seven active players on the Grizzlies bench. When Zach Randolph returns from injury, it would become eight, with Speights moving to the bench.

    Following is a ranking of the seven active bench players for the Grizzlies.

7. Hamed Hadaddi

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    Hamed Hadaddi is the last player on the Grizzlies bench.

    He only plays 6.4 minutes per game, but he puts up 2.4 points and 3.2 rebounds per game in those sparse minutes.

    Hadaddi pulls down rebounds in bunches. He had five rebounds in eight minutes against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Friday.

    The Iranian center grabs 18 rebounds per 36 minutes.

    The Grizzlies were anxious to get Hadaddi back before the season started once Darrell Arthur tore his Achilles, but Hadaddi took a little longer to get his visa.

    Perhaps if the United States and Iran enjoyed better relations, Hadaddi wouldn't have missed a beat with Memphis.

6. Josh Selby

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    Josh Selby hasn't seen much time on the court in his rookie year.

    Selby is averaging 2.9 points and 1.4 assists per game in 10.3 minutes per game while shooting 38.9 percent from the field.

    He's made eight of 10 free throws.

    The Kansas product has one more turnover than assist to this point (27 turnovers, 26 assists).

    Selby has played 15 or more minutes in three games and hasn't done it since January 24 against the Portland Trail Blazers.

    His scoring high to this point is nine against the New York Knicks on January 12.

    Image courtesy of The Commercial Appeal

5. Sam Young

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    Sam Young hasn't played nearly as significant a role for the Grizzlies as last season.

    After starting 46 of his 78 games last season, Young has started only one of 17 games this season.

    Young hasn't come on as well in his third year as a pro.

    He is averaging four points per game—3.3 fewer than last season—while playing 12.2 minutes per game.

    He's shooting 38.2 percent from the field, nine percent worse than last season.

    Young has missed all nine of his three-point attempts thus far after shooting 34 percent from three-point range last season.

    It'll be interesting to see whether Young expands his role as the season progresses. He received his first start on Sunday against the Boston Celtics, scoring 10 points and pulling down four rebounds in 24 minutes.

    If he plays as hard as he did against the Celtics, Young could earn more minutes as the season goes along.

4. Jeremy Pargo

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    Jeremy Pargo has played a significant role with the Grizzlies in his first NBA season after spending time playing in Turkey.

    Pargo averages 3.7 points and 1.8 assists in 12.2 minutes per game while shooting 33.3 percent from the field in 18 games.

    Pargo has played sparsely while backing up Mike Conley.

    He stepped up when Mike Conley injured his ankle against the Oklahoma City Thunder on December 28.

    After Conley went down in the first minute of the game, Pargo put up 15 points and seven assists. While the Grizzlies didn't manage to pull off the win, Pargo provided the energy to keep the Grizzlies in the game.

    In his second of three starts, Pargo had 14 points and five assists against the Houston Rockets.

    Since Conley returned to the lineup, Pargo has receded to a peripheral role. While playing as a reserve, Pargo scored only 2.9 points per game while shooting 32.1 percent from the field. Pargo only plays 9.7 minutes per game when coming off the bench.

    Pargo likely won't play much with Conley healthy, but Pargo could step up if need be.

    Image courtesy of the Chicago Tribune

3. Quincy Pondexter

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    Quincy Pondexter has been a significant contributor for the Grizzlies coming off the bench.

    He takes the third-most minutes among Grizzlies reserves (15.4 minutes per game).

    Pondexter averages 4.4 points and 2.3 rebounds per game while shooting 44.1 percent from the field.

    Pondexter has started twice in place of Tony Allen since Allen has been down with a sore hip and knee. On Wednesday against the Timberwolves, Pondexter came up big with 17 points and six rebounds in 36 minutes.

    Pondexter doesn't play a great deal off the bench. Before his first start on Monday, Pondexter had only played 20 or more minutes once this season.

    He has scored in double figures twice off the bench.

2. Dante Cunningham

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    Dante Cunningham has been a helpful guy off the bench for the Grizzlies.

    He averages five points and 4.2 rebounds in 19 minutes per game.

    The former Charlotte Bobcat is shooting 47.1 percent from the field.

    Cunningham has provided athletic defense for the Grizzlies. Lionel Hollins has given him more minutes recently to give the Grizzlies more length on defense.

    He played 28 minutes against the Atlanta Hawks to match Josh Smith's athleticism, and he did just that, holding Smith to 11 points.

    Cunningham has come up big on a couple of occasions. He scored 12 points in 26 minutes against the Timberwolves.

    As Marc Gasol struggled in a January 28 loss to the Phoenix Suns, Cunningham came up with six points and 10 rebounds to help keep things close.

    Cunningham might see fewer minutes in the next few weeks as Hollins returns to the previous look, with Marreese Speights receiving more minutes.

    However, he'll continue to be a significant player off the bench, even after Zach Randolph comes back. Cunningham provides fresh, athletic defense that's valuable off the bench.

1. O.J. Mayo

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    Few would be surprised to see O.J. Mayo at the top of the list.

    Mayo leads Memphis reserves in scoring.

    He puts up 12.3 points and 3.2 rebounds in 26.8 minutes per game while shooting 42.8 percent from the field.

    Mayo and Cunningham are the only bench players to play every game this season for the Grizzlies.

    Mayo provides a vital scoring punch off the bench for the Grizzlies. He's scored 15 points or more 10 times this season.

    Mayo has come up big on some occasions. He scored 15 of his 18 points in an overtime win against the Denver Nuggets in fourth quarter and overtime.

    That includes the game-winning three-point shot in overtime. His 16 points were key to a 93-87 win against the New Orleans Hornets on January 18.

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