Going into the offseason, the Memphis Grizzlies are much improved since last year. The Grizzlies finished the regular season with a 40-42 record, a sixteen game improvement on last year’s record. For a while, they were competing for a playoff spot in the West. If they can bring back all of their rotation players, and still add some depth, they could be a threat next year.
A key to the success of the Grizzlies’ off-season is re-signing Rudy Gay. Gay, their starting small forward for the past four years, has progressively improved each year. This season was perhaps his best. Although the team should not overpay him, they should definitely be open-minded to increasing their original offer of 5 years and $50 million.
Re-signing Ronnie Brewer is also key for this team. Although he did not get a chance to play much for this team, he is a very valuable piece, especially defensively. He will be a much needed spark off the bench, one that they have been missing. After giving up a first rounder for him, they should not give up on bringing him back so easily.
The Grizzlies hold three first round draft picks in the upcoming draft. One of those is a lottery pick that looks as though it will land at 12. The other two are in the latter part of the first round. The Grizzlies’ main focus should be to bring in more depth. Provided they return Rudy Gay and Ronnie Brewer, that first lottery pick should be used for a big body.
Greg Monroe or Epke Udoh will be strong contenders for the lottery pick. They both would solidify the bench and would add a big body to bang. The good thing about those two is that despite being used as mainly power forwards, they could also slide down to center when needed. Darrell Arthur and Hasheem Thabeet are their current options as backup big men. Both Monroe and Udoh would immediately come in and compete for those spots. In fact, they have a good chance of overthrowing both of those guys. More depth never hurts either.
Next, depth at the point guard is weak. All they had this year was Marcus Williams who will be a restricted free agent. If Eric Bledsoe slips that far, he is the pick, although Terrico White is the more realistic option. White is a hometown guy, who also makes sense here. He is a combo guard and can play in both spots. Also a consideration here might be Elliot Williams.
With that third pick, going with someone like Elliot Williams or Damion James will make sense. Adding another guard that can score and defend will be a great added bonus for this team. Provided Gay and Brewer re-sign, the draft may be all the team needs this off-season.
Gay has been heard saying that he feels as though the team needs a good veteran to help them win, so the Grizz could possibly get something done to please Gay enough into staying. Perhaps trading the 12th selection for a proven veteran would be a good idea. When it comes down to it, there is not too much wrong the Grizzlies can do this offseason.
Although bringing Gay back is important, it is not vital. He may ask for too much money and the team should not budge because they are in a position to replace him. They could perhaps use the draft to replace him, or free agency. Maybe trading the 12th pick for someone like Caron Butler or Tayshaun Prince would be a possibility. This is something the team and fans should not be extremely concerned about as their primary, concern should focus on bringing Gay back.
Overall, Grizzly fans have plenty to look forward to this offseason and in the years ahead. The development of OJ Mayo, Marc Gasol, and possibly even Hasheem Thabeet, will be dangerous. This team is in perfect position to make a run next season. Props to Chris Wallace and Michael Heisley for what they have done in Memphis.
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