There hasn’t been a lot of talk surrounding the Memphis Grizzlies leading up to the 2013-2014 NBA season, or at least not as much as there should be. Memphis was one round away from the Finals last year and then added Kosta Koufos, Mike Miller, Nick Calathes and rookie Jamaal Franklin to their rotation, all of which are moves that should make this team better.
With Koufos, you know that you’re getting a backup center behind Marc Gasol that is probably over-qualified, but can come in and give the Grizzlies great minutes. Miller is a dead-eye shooter that will give them scoring from the perimeter from their wings. Calathes is somewhat of a wildcard, but seems every bit like a solid backup to Mike Conley. Franklin, however, has somewhat of an unexpected future this season.
In college at San Diego State, Franklin was relied upon in almost every aspect of the game. He was asked to score, rebound, facilitate and defend at a high level as the team’s unquestioned leader. Coming to Memphis, though, his role is going to be different.
Through three preseason games, though, Franklin has shown his ability to contribute in a number of areas, but without being relied on as heavily. In all three game he has shown a little bit of scoring ability, solid passing, good activity on the glass and solid defense in the mold of his mentor in Memphis, Tony Allen.
As I said, the Grizzlies don’t need Franklin to be an instant All-Star for the team to be successful. However, if he can come off of the bench at the two-guard in limited minutes and give this team high-energy and no-mistakes basketball in a number of areas, that’s going to be huge for this team. They lacked consistent bench production last season, which Franklin could be a big part of changing. If that ends up being the case, the lack of talk about Memphis won’t last much longer.