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The Memphis Grizzlies were missing a certain balance offensively—not in terms of scoring balance—but a balance between inside scoring and wing/transitional scoring.
That was because after Zach Randolph went down for most of the season with a partially torn MCL, the Griz had to remake their offense on the fly. That meant flipping from the double post offense that it generally ran to a transition offense that maximized most of the key remaining offensive talents.
The Grizzlies did a lot of work on the fast break. They used steals by guys like Mike Conley and Tony Allen to fuel quick scores. Sometimes Rudy Gay picked up steals or rebounds and went coast to coast for the jam.
For what they had, the scheme worked.
Gay was able to push scoring, although he occasionally stood back to let others take shots, as he is wont to do. Supporting perimeter players like Allen and O.J. Mayo often stepped up to make plays in transition. Conley sometimes broke opposing defenses down in half-court sets to set up a quick dump to Marc Gasol.
But things broke down in the playoffs. The transition offense didn’t succeed against the Clippers. Conley was off his wheels. The ball often bounced around without direction like a pinball. This resulted in more turnovers than usual.
With that unfortunate turn and the return of Randolph for what fans of the three shades of blue hope to be a full season, the team needs to turn back to the double post offense that made the team passable offensively in the 2011 postseason.
The double post revolves around Gasol and Randolph as the post players. The Spaniard and the Marion, Ind., native give mirrored looks in the post, posting up opposite each other, rolling off mirrored screens or bouncing out simultaneously for shot opportunities on the wing.
Gasol and Randolph work very well together. They have a great feel for what the other is doing and know how to move in concert with the other.
This will make the offense more efficient, slowing the pace and cutting down turnovers. Both of those trends would make the team more adaptable for postseason play.
As for Gay, he’ll be able to create for himself outside the double post. Gay and Randolph had close to the same number of field-goal attempts per game in their first two seasons playing together. In 2010-11, Gay had 16.1 field-goal attempts per game to Randolph’s 15.8 per game. In 2009-10, Gay had 16.1 per game while Randolph had 16.5 per game.