Memphis Grizzlies have a clear identity — they play with grit and they grind out games. They can’t really score the basketball, but they make sure that the opposition doesn’t either. While that style of play has worked out well for Memphis, it also greatly limits the team. For them to truly be legit championship contenders, they need weapons around the perimeter.
The Grizzlies’ interior defense in almost impeccable. With the likes of Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph guarding the rim, opponents simply cannot get any easy looks. According to Synergy Sports, the Grizzlies rank third in the league in post-up defense, allowing just 0.78 points per possession on 39.5 field goal percentage. They are also terrific when it comes to guarding the big men in pick-and-rolls.
As great as Memphis is defensively, the lack of perimeter offense is alarming to say the least. Defending the Grizzlies has become very easy since they are so predictable. They are efficient in the post and in pick and rolls, which has led to other teams completely cutting off driving lanes and fronting the post, daring the Grizzlies to spot-up for jumpers.
While Memphis does get a lot of decent look around the perimeter, the lack of good shooters is what really hurts them. The Grizzlies spot-up in almost a fifth of their offensive possessions, but shoot just 37.2 percent in those situations.
Jerryd Bayless and Mike Conley are just about the only two players that are capable of creating offense off the dribble. Rudy Gay might not have been efficient, but he still added another dimension to the Grizzlies offense.
The simple solution for their struggles is to go out and get some great shooters. Breaking up the rock-solid starting lineup might not be the team’s preferred option, but that’s what it might take.
Vytis is a Miami Heat and NBA columnist for RantSports. You can follow him on Twitter here: @VytisLasaitis