In the 2012-2013 NBA season while playing under head coach Lionel Hollins, the Memphis Grizzlies had the second slowest pace in the league, meaning they averaged the second fewest number of possessions per game. Because of their slow, methodical pace, the Grizzlies weren’t a team that got out in transition all that often last season.
With Hollins out as head coach and Dave Joerger, a former assistant coach with Memphis, now in place, the Grizzlies are likely going to pick up the pace. In a recent interview with Mark Woods on ESPN, Grizzlies center and reigning Defensive Player of the Year Marc Gasol said of Joerger, “He, of course, wants to push the tempo, which has been a problem for us, getting up and down the floor to score easy buckets.” That’s a big change for this Memphis team, but it could also be a good one.
As Gasol also pointed out in the interview, the Grizzlies relied heavily on feeding him and power forward Zach Randolph in the post last season, which often allowed defenses to collapse on them. Picking up the pace and getting out in transition will help the Grizzlies get better looks and could help open up the painted area more for Gasol and Z-Bo.
As far as the Grizzlies in transition, they were actually quite good last season in the times that they did get down the floor quickly, averaging 1.15 points per possession in transition last season, the eight best rate in the league. Translate that into more transition opportunities this season and that could make this Memphis team much more potent offensively.
We all know that the Grizzlies are one of the best defensive teams in the league, allowing 89.3 points per game last season. However, their offense sputtered at times and that proved to really be their Achilles’ heel in the postseason. Heading into this season in a tough Western Conference, Joerger is looking to change that and it could make all the difference for the Grizzlies.
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