The Memphis Grizzlies did a solid job this summer in addressing their biggest weakness, their bench. In the 2013 NBA Draft they were able to nab Jamaal Franklin, who has the potential to be a solid wing player off the pine. The Grizzlies were also able to sign Mike Miller this summer, giving them an offensive boost to their reserves.
However, Memphis still looked at their roster and saw a hole on their bench at the point guard position. The Grizzlies were reportedly interested in both Mo Williams and Beno Udrih as potential free-agent signings, but Williams signed with the Portland Trail Blazers on Wednesday and then ESPN’s Marc Stein reported on Thursday morning that Udrih had cancelled his meeting with Memphis and is signing with the New York Knicks.
Not being able to land either Williams or Udrih puts the Grizzlies in a bit of a predicament heading into the 2013-2014 NBA season. Memphis will now likely have to roll with either Tony Wroten or Jerryd Bayless as their backup to Conley, which isn’t exactly settling.
Wroten, as a rookie last season, played in just 35 games while averaging only 2.6 points and 1.2 assists in 7.8 minutes per game on 38.4 percent shooting. He had high expectations coming into the Las Vegas Summer League, but continued to not look ready to take a consistent role at the NBA level.
Bayless is talented, but he’s not exactly suited for playing point guard. Bayless takes a shoot-first mentality to the court and isn’t that great as a facilitators. In fact, he was much more successful last season as a two-guard than he was at the point.
Ultimately, the backup point guard role for Memphis could prove to be problematic. This Grizzlies team has improved a great deal this off-season and will have a chance to make a deep run in the postseason. When it gets late in the playoffs, though, not having a reliable backup to lead the offense could be something that haunts them.