In an article I came across on SB Nation, Ben Swanson wrote on how the Charlotte Bobcats should experiment with a few “small-ball” line-up’s as the league is shifting from traditional post game to a faster pace. That had me thinking. While the Memphis Grizzlies best lineups included at least two big men, this team has the depth to mix it up against opponents.
Last year the Grizzlies best lineup – according to 82games.com – was Mike Conley-Tony Allen-Rudy Gay-Zach Randolph-Marc Gasol. That lineup resulted in a plus-50 +/- on the season. The worst? Conley-O.J. Mayo-Gay-Marresse Speights-Gasol with a -24 on the season. Now the team has replaced O.J. Mayo with a bevy of players that will be able to replace him by committee and with Darrell Arthur back, Lionel Hollins will be able to experiment a little. Here are a few lineups the team should experiment with all of the new additions:
Mike Conley-Jerryd Bayless-Wayne Ellington-Rudy Gay-Marc Gasol
Outside of the lack of point guard, the Grizzlies have lacked solid three-point shooting over the last few years. With a few off-season acquisitions, things have gotten better. When Gasol is on the floor, the team shoots 34.9% from three, two percent higher than the team normal. Add Conley (37%), Jerryd Bayless (42%), Wayne Ellington (32%) and Gay (31%) and this team could run a successful lineup. Not to mention how good a passer Gasol is from the post, this could be one of the most productive lineups offensively. It’s really pick your poison between the three or allowing Gasol to play one-on-one in the paint and he’s pretty good at that.
A Mike Conley-Josh Selby Backcourt
When the team didn’t offer O.J. Mayo a qualifying offer, questions of who would replace Mayo arose. After Josh Selby‘s Las Vegas Summer League performance (24.2 ppg, .64% from 3), you have to wonder can he be that player. We know those numbers won’t translate to the NBA and at 6’2, we know he isn’t this team’s future point guard which is why he and Conley should be given some time to run together. After bulking up, Conley may be able to slide over to the two on defense. knowing how Lionel Hollins works, it won’t be likely that this pairing would be seen a lot, but I think it could open up something different for the back court.
Mike Conley-Tony Wroten-Wayne Ellington-Darrell Arthur-Zach Randolph
If Zach Randolph is looking as healthy as he has all preseason, then this would be the perfect lineup for him. His post game is one of the best in the league and surrounding him with shooters and hustle players, this lineup could help on offense and defense. And if Darrell Arthur is back to being the glue-guy he was in 2011, it’ll fit perfectly. This lineup’s success really relies on whether Conley and Ellington shot is falling as it’ll make things harder Z-Bo in the paint. Wroten can work as the cut-man on the offense and may even be able to work a little two-man game with Randolph while Conley/Ellington are on the wings spotted up.