NBA Playoffs 2011: Power Ranking the Key Players in Memphis Grizzlies' Rotation

Stephen PattersonCorrespondent IApril 15, 2011

NBA Playoffs 2011: Power Ranking the Key Players in Memphis Grizzlies' Rotation

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    With the regular season finally in the books for the Grizzlies, they can now focus all their attention towards to the San Antonio Spurs and the 2011 NBA playoffs.

    Even with Rudy Gay—the face of the franchise—out of the lineup since February with a separated shoulder, Memphis managed to lock up their fourth postseason berth in franchise history. Several other members of the Grizzlies' roster stepped up in his absence to help them maintain the momentum.

    This slideshow will rank the importance of each key member of the Grizzlies' rotation from most important to least heading into the postseason.

    Quick Notes:

    Considering he will not be with the team for the playoffs, Gay won't be ranked on this list.

    Also, Jason Williams and Xavier Henry will not be included on this list since both have been out with injuries for significant time and likely won't appear in the postseason.

12. Ish Smith

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    Season Stats (with Grizzlies): 1.8 points, 0.3 rebounds, 1.0 assist

    While Smith will likely not see much, if any, playing during the postseason for the Grizzlies, he could come in handy if called upon.

    With Mike Conley and Greivis Vasquez likely to see a majority of the minutes at point guard, Smith will likely get on the floor at the end of a lopsided game or if both of the team's other two options are racking up fouls.

11. Hamed Haddadi

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    Season Stats: 2.4 points, 2.2 rebounds, 0.2 assists

    While Haddadi clearly won't be heavily relied upon during the series with Spurs, he could be quite useful for short bursts, especially if Marc Gasol gets into foul trouble early in a game.

    Considering one of the most effective ways to handle Tim Duncan offensively over the years has been to foul him and send him to the line—where he has a pretty horrendous average—Haddadi could come handy if for no other reason than to play hack-a-Tim.

10. Leon Powe

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    Season Stats (with Grizzlies): 5.5 points, 1.6 rebounds, 0.3 assists

    While Powe signed late in the season with Memphis after being waived by the Cleveland Cavaliers, he has already made his presence known and helped strengthen the Grizzlies' front court.

    Also, Powe's experience with the Boston Celtics during his rookie season will be a huge bonus for Memphis.

    Powe was a key reserve for the Celtics during their championship run that season.

9. Greivis Vasquez

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    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Season Stats: 3.6 points, 1.0 rebounds, 2.2 assists

    Vasquez could end up seeing a decent amount of playing time if Mike Conley struggles playing against Tony Parker and runs into foul trouble trying to slow him down on the offensive end of the floor.

    While he has only averaged just 12 minutes per game, Vasquez is capable of providing a spark off the bench if the Grizzlies are struggling.

8. Shane Battier

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    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Season Stats (with Grizzlies): 5.0 points, 4.0 rebounds, 1.4 assists

    Battier is the only player on the Grizzlies' roster who was with the team when they were last in the postseason five years ago, although he spent a majority of that time with the Houston Rockets before Memphis reacquired him at the trade deadline.

    He is also one of the best defenders in the league, which means he will likely spend most of his time on the floor driving Richard Jefferson and Manu Ginobili crazy.

    With a career average of 39 percent from behind the three-point line, Battier is a sold threat from downtown. He could see the ball in his hands if a game is close in the final seconds.

7. Darrell Arthur

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    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Season Stats: 9.1 points, 4.3 rebounds, 0.7 assists

    Arthur has been huge for the Grizzlies off the bench, improving almost all of his numbers this season compared to last year.

    I think Arthur could be one of the big wild cards in the Grizzlies' first-round matchup against the Spurs. If he has a big series for them, Memphis could have a legitimate shot at upsetting San Antonio in the first round.

6. Sam Young

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    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Season Stats: 7.3 points, 2.4 rebounds, 0.9 assists

    Young has been huge for the Grizzlies this season, especially in the absence of Rudy Gay.

    While his averages might not be mind-blowing, Young plays hard on both sides of the floor and has the ability to take over on the offensive end.

    Memphis will need a solid series from Young if they want any chance of pushing the Spurs to the limit.

5. O.J. Mayo

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    Elsa/Getty Images

    Season Stats: 11.3 points, 2.4 rebounds, 2.0 assists

    Mayo has kept the Grizzlies' backcourt strong in Gay's absence. While the Grizzlies tried sending Mayo to the Indiana Pacers at the trade deadline, they are probably happy the deal fell through at the last second.

    Although Mayo has had a rough season, marred by a fight aboard a team flight as well as a 10-game suspension for using an illegal substance, he has adapted to his new role off the bench as the season has progressed.

    With Manu Ginobili likely to be less than 100-percent healthy for the duration of this series, Mayo could potentially have a huge a series for Memphis.

4. Mike Conley

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    Jeff Gross/Getty Images

    Season Stats: 13.7 points, 3.0 rebounds, 6.5 assists

    Conley is having his best season since coming into the NBA and has been an integral part of the Grizzlies' success up to this point in the season.

    Tasked with the role of slowing down Tony Parker, he will have his hands full in this series—especially with the Spurs relying on Parker on offense while Ginobli's health remains doubtful.

    If Conley can keep Parker in check, Memphis could potentially shock the Spurs in six or seven games.

3. Marc Gasol

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    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Season Stats: 11.7 points, 7.0 rebounds, 2.5 assists

    Gasol will have an extremely difficult tasks on his hands in this series: slowing down Tim Duncan—one of the most successful centers in postseason history.

    While Duncan is nearing the end of his career, he has played fairly well this season and should play even better in the playoffs.

    Gasol will need to average around 15 points and 10 rebounds while keeping Duncan out of his comfort zone for the Grizzlies to have a real chance at upsetting the Spurs in the first round.

2. Tony Allen

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    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Season Stats: 8.9 points, 2.7 rebounds, 1.4 assists

    Allen has been huge for Grizzlies during his first season in Memphis, playing an especially large role for the team since Gay's injury.

    He is one of the top defenders in the league. While he may not always wow fans with his offensive production, Allen is probably one of the more complete all-around players in the league.

    With his lock-down defense and consistent hustle, Allen could end up being the Grizzlies' most valuable player in the playoffs.

    Like Powe, Allen has a wealth of playoff experience from his time in Boston that will come in handy.

1. Zach Randolph

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    Elsa/Getty Images

    Season Stats: 20.1 points, 12.2 rebounds, 2.2 assists

    Z-Bo has been the anchor for the Grizzlies all season long and has embraced his role as the team's leader during Gay's absence.

    Randolph carried Memphis on his back. I couldn't imagine him letting up now that they have reached the postseason.

    If Z-Bo has a solid series and his energy and passion spread to his teammates, Memphis could be a serious threat to San Antonio in the opening round.