The emergence of third year player Quincy Pondexter is essential in helping solidify a Memphis Grizzlies bench where shooting and defense are at premium. The Grizzlies have been in playoff contention, in part because of the efforts of their wing players. Scoring, defense, rebounding — these are skills which Pondexter excels at. If only he could do them all consistently over time and at the same time. We may get a chance to find out this season.
Two years ago SF Rudy Gay gobbled most of those minutes and Sam Young nibbled away at what was left. It was Rudy Gay and Tayshaun Prince who were ahead of Quincy in the rotation during various parts of the season last year — with even SG Tony Allen sliding down to the three for defensive purposes from time-to-time.
But Pondexter’s minutes were still the highest in his career to date despite missing games due to a knee injury. He averaged only six points per game last season, but low scoring averages are sometimes deceiving. As was illustrated during Memphis’ Western Conference match up with the San Antonio Spurs, Pondexter displayed a cold-hearted confidence that had largely gone unseen up until then. His playoff scoring average average was nine points per game. His best game was a 22 point outburst in a Game 4 loss to the San Antonio Spurs. He had a 15 point game prior to that in Game 3, a nine rebound game in Game 2 and a 17 point Game 1. It was as if he had saved his very best efforts of the season for that series.
Is it too much to ask for Pondexter to be, you know…that guy all season long? I don’t believe it’s a reach at all. Though his knee is something of a concern, Quincy’s production arc had been steadily trending upward since he was drafted. The fact that he played as if he were at least the fourth best Grizzlies’ player against a Finals contender cannot to be fluke, right? Only time will tell, but one would think a next level breakout has to be in in store this season for Pondexter.
Ricardo A. Hazell is a freelance writer with Rant Sports. You can follow him on Twitter at NikosMightyDad or add him to your network on Google Plus.