The Memphis Grizzlies are fighting to stay afloat in the picture for the NBA Playoffs in the Western Conference right now. At 47-23 they are in a tight race with the Los Angeles Clippers and the Denver Nuggets for the three, four and five seeds. The fight for the Grizzlies got even harder this weekend, though, with the news that they would be without Marc Gasol for an indefinite amount of time.
Gasol has been the heart of this Memphis team for most of the season, contributing in almost every aspect of the game. Without him in the lineup, they need their role players to step up and contribute more than they normally do. One player in particular that needs to raise his level of performance is Darrell Arthur.
Arthur has appeared in 49 games for the Grizzlies this season and has averaged 17.2 minutes per game. In that time he’s managed to average just 6.5 points and three rebounds per game and has shot just 44.9 percent from the field. That’s not awful, but it’s definitely not impressive nor is it enough production to even come close to adequately replacing Gasol.
Against the Washington Wizards on Monday night, Arthur got the start in place of Gasol, but didn’t give them near the production that the team needed. He put up just six points and four rebounds on 40 percent shooting. He also fouled out in just 19 minutes of play. That’s more than inadequate; that’s just plain awful.
Arthur has to play better, especially on the defensive side of the ball, if Memphis wants to keep their head above water in its race with the Clippers and the Nuggets. If he doesn’t, the Grizzlies are a definite candidate to slip and settle into the five-seed and potentially the six-seed before it’s all said and done.