There’s no doubt that Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph are the centerpieces of the Memphis Grizzlies as they anchor down their frontcourt. However, as the Grizzlies head into the 2013-2014 NBA season looking to capitalize off of their success this past year where they made it to the Western Conference Finals, they may need another leader to emerge, especially in their backcourt.
It’s pretty clear that the leader for the Grizzlies in the backcourt should be and will be point guard Mike Conley. In 80 games last season, Conley was a huge part of the Grizzlies’ success. He averaged 14.6 points, 6.1 assists, 2.8 rebounds and 2.2 steals in 34.5 minutes per game. He also shot 44 percent from the field and hit on 36.1 percent of his attempts from beyond-the-arc.
Conley is a player who brings a lot to the table for Memphis. Over his career he has established himself as a solid facilitator, has developed his game as a scorer, and is an underrated perimeter defender, especially in terms of causing turnovers.
Because of Conley’s position, he is obviously in a position of control a lot of the time when he’s on the floor. He can control the flow of the game and can help create opportunities off of the turnovers that he forces. However, he’s never really taken the reins as a leader and has more often deferred to Gasol and Z-Bo.
As the Grizzlies head into this season, they need Conley to take that role, though. It’s not that Randolph and Gasol are incapable of leading this team, but it’s just a more natural role for a point guard to take. If Memphis wants to reach their maximum potential, they need their point guard to take control of this team on the floor and possibly off of it as well. He needs to flex his playmaking skills more this season and control what’s happening better. If he can do so, it will be huge for their chances this season.