NBA Free Agency 2012: How Memphis Grizzlies Can Round out Their Roster
The Memphis Grizzlies have done good work in the offseason retooling the roster in order to get set for a run at the NBA Finals. Re-signing Darrell Arthur and Marreese Speights was important for keeping the frontcourt intact. The signing of Jerryd Bayless and the draft pick of Tony Wroten addressed the backcourt needs tremendously.
Now, the Grizzlies' roster is coming into a clearer picture. Despite trade rumors and speculation, the lineup of Marc Gasol, Zach Randolph, Rudy Gay, Tony Allen and Mike Conley is certain to remain as it stands. The bench boasts no backup center, but three backup power forwards in Speights, Arthur and Dante Cunningham.
Quincy Pondexter is the backup small forward and Josh Selby figures to be a backup 2-guard. The backups at the point are Jeremy Pargo and Bayless, although Bayless is more of a combo guard since he both distributes the ball and creates for himself.
Memphis has enough players to fill the roster, but it'll be on the move to add more depth.
One significant step that should be made is adding a backup center. Gasol endured a high level of stress last season as he ranked 12th in the NBA with 36.5 minutes per game. The Grizzlies weren't able to give him much rest with only one center, Hamed Haddadi, behind him.
Haddadi played only about six minutes per game. Lionel Hollins didn't seem to feel strongly about Haddadi's ability to play long minutes.
Sometimes the Grizzlies went with a smaller lineup for stretches during a game with Speights or Cunningham filling Gasol's spot with a fair amount of success.
What position do the Grizzlies most need to address while filling the roster now?
Since nearly all of the centers who can capably play 20 minutes per game are off the market, the Grizzlies will likely end up re-signing Haddadi. Retaining him isn't a bad move. Haddadi may have a tendency to commit bad fouls, but he's a wizard on the inside, scooping up rebounds left and right and blocking numerous shots.
In 2011-12, the Iranian center had 12.4 rebounds and 4.5 blocks per 36 minutes.
A signing that the Grizzlies could make that would hit the national radar while making a solid impact on the team's scoring ability is Michael Redd. This writer stood against the idea of the Grizzlies signing Redd last year, but Redd had a strong year for the Phoenix Suns.
Redd averaged an impressive 8.2 points in just 15.1 minutes per game while shooting 40 percent from the field and 79.3 percent from the line.
Adding Redd would ensure that the Grizzlies would have at least a couple of players who can score effectively off the bench.
The Ohio State product may be 33 years old when the season starts, but he seems to be in good enough shape to be an impact player.
The Grizzlies are very much capable of making a deep playoff run as they currently stand. However, they can strengthen their chances of winning a championship by making one or two more moves to tighten up the roster. Retaining Haddadi would seal up the frontcourt while picking up Redd would make Memphis a reasonable scoring team.
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