The Memphis Grizzlies are a team that’s trending upward, having won nine of their last 10 games, their only loss coming to the defending NBA Champion Miami Heat. This run has propelled them to the four-seed in the Western Conference, and they seem like a team that’s poised to make some noise when it comes time for the postseason.
Memphis is anchored by their frontcourt that features Marc Gasol, the newly-acquired Tayshaun Prince, and Zach Randolph. They also have a deep pool of frontcourt players to pull from on their bench. Their backcourt is an entirely different scenario, though.
After starters Mike Conley and Tony Allen, the Grizzlies only consistent guard off the bench is Jerryd Bayless. Bayless is the only other guard besides Allen and Conley to average more than 20 minutes per game and play in over 50 games.
This is also what makes Bayless a key for the Grizzlies down the home-stretch of their season and in the playoffs.
For the year, Bayless is averaging 6.9 points, 3.4 assists and 2.2 boards per game in 20.2 minutes off the bench. However, he’s only shooting 41.5 percent from the floor and 32.2 percent from long-range. It doesn’t matter if he’s a starter or a reserve, that’s not efficient shooting.
For a team that’s as defensive-minded as Memphis, they would benefit a great deal from having a perimeter player that could put up points, particularly one that comes off the bench. Since they have little depth in that area, that burden falls on Bayless.
Bayless is able to create his own shot and facilitate, but he also tends to force the issue when he shouldn’t. For the Grizzlies to be really successful this year, he has to learn to take smarter shots and make smarter decisions with the ball.
If Bayless is able to learn how to adjust into a role as an efficient and smart bench-scorer on the fly in the next coming weeks, then this Memphis team will become incredibly dangerous. They are already arguably the best defensive team in the league and have guys who can score consistently in the post.
If Bayless is able to add a perimeter-scoring element to their game, the rest of the NBA better watch out, because the Grizzlies could be set to makes some serious noise.