Whenever basketball people talk about the Memphis Grizzlies and why they’ve been able to find success in the NBA, they often point to things like Marc Gasol’s multi-faceted game, Zach Randolph’s elite rebounding, or even Tony Allen’s stifling on-ball defense. However, one of the things that’s often overlooked is the contribution of Mike Conley.
Conley has had one of his best seasons this year for Memphis. Playing in 76 games, he has averaged 34.6 minutes of time on the floor per night. In that role as the starting point guard he has averaged 14.8 points, 6.1 assists. 2.7 rebounds and 2.3 steals per game while shooting 44.4 percent from the field and 36.6 percent from deep. He’s had a really nice overall season.
Arguably the most important thing that Conley has done for the Grizzlies this season, though, is the way that he reacted and played after the Grizzlies traded Rudy Gay. Gay was the team’s leading scorer before his departure, which obviously left a hole in Memphis’ offense. Conley was willing to become a more aggressive scorer to help replace what they were losing from Gay. It really showed his role as one of the leaders on this team.
That role has continued to be apparent over the past few weeks. With the postseason nearing and the Grizzlies looking inconsistent, Conley has stepped up his game to try and get them on the right track and in the right mind for the playoffs. Over his last 10 games, Conley has averaged 20.4 points, 5.8 assists, 2.9 rebounds and 2.1 steals per game on 49.7 percent shooting from the floor and 45 percent three-point shooting.
The Grizzlies are a team that thrives off their toughness and defense, which has definitely made them effective in this league. However, when Conley plays like he has over these last 10 games, they are a truly dangerous team because that gives them an offensive potency that’s not always there. If Conley can continue playing this offensively and maintaining all the other things he does, Memphis could pull some big upsets in the postseason.