The Grizzlies are staring into the eyes of last year's Western Conference Finals failure. The San Antonio Spurs crushed them on the perimeter, hitting 37.6 percent of 85 three-point attempts to Memphis' 34.9 percent of 63 attempts.
Most of Memphis' makes came from Quincy Pondexter, who acted as a decoy.
Since then, the Grizz have worked to address the lack of outside shooting. They signed Mike Miller and re-upped Jon Leuer in the offseason while acquiring Courtney Lee and Beno Udrih during this campaign.
In a Memphis Flyer piece, Matt Hrdlicka broke down how well the Grizz have addressed the sweep. In discussing the biggest difference between the two teams, he said:
It's that the Grizzlies have no secondary perimeter player the caliber of Manu Ginobili. While the Grizzlies have aggressively added shooters like Miller and Lee to bolster their offense to championship standards, the less publicized (and harder to fill) gap is finding another player capable of breaking down the defense.
Indeed, Miller is a three-point threat, standing sixth in three-point field-goal percentage. However, his 2.8 threes and 5.3 shots per game aren't off the charts.
Lee stretches opposing defenses by taking 25.6 percent of his shots as long twos and 31.3 percent as threes, but his 35.4 percent downtown average isn't strong enough to force opponents to plan around him.
Still, the Grizz take fewer threes than any other NBA team. Taking only 17 percent of their field-goal attempts as threes, they're one of only two below 20 percent. The Grizzlies, who have the 21st-best three-point clip, may not make it out of the bottom third in this category for the first time since 2007-08.
The Spurs and Thunder both can separate themselves from Memphis with an outside attack. Once again, San Antonio is the preeminent three-point shooting team at 40 percent, with six regulars shooting 37 percent or better from long range.
The Thunder rank 12th in the category and have four shooting at least 36 percent, with Thabo Sefolosha likely to come back stronger than his first-half form.