Zach Randolph has sat out of the last two games for the Memphis Grizzlies with an ankle injury. With the Grizzlies jostling for position in the NBA Playoffs, currently sitting in the four-seed of the Western Conference, this might seem like an awful time to be missing one of the team’s two best players. However, the playoff-race is actually one of the reasons why this is possibly the best time to make sure Randolph is healthy.
Randolph leads the Grizzlies in points and rebounds per game this season at 15.7 and 11.6 respectively. He’s been incredibly sound and consistent on both ends of the floor, which is what has come to be expected of him in his time in Memphis. So as Randolph is a game-time decision for Memphis’ game on Friday against the Cleveland Cavaliers, why should they Grizzlies keep him out?
For starters, Randolph is one of the keys of this team both statistically and with his leadership qualities. The younger players on the team look up to him and he’s really kind of a glue-guy in their locker room in addition to the production that he gives on a nightly basis. The Grizzlies shouldn’t be rushing him back if he’s not 100 percent ready because he’s simply too valuable to their team in the long run.
Another reason they should keep him sidelined on Friday is that they aren’t going to suffer that greatly without him on the floor against Cleveland. The Cavaliers have a young, inexperienced frontcourt that’s not going to cause a ton of problems and the Grizzlies have a competent back-up to Randolph in the newly acquired Ed Davis.
It really seems that keeping Randolph out against Cleveland is the smartest decision for the team. They won’t be greatly affected in the game and, more importantly, they will ensure that Randolph will be at full-health when he does return, which is vital to their success in the postseason and in the remainder of the regular season.