Early in the 2013-14 NBA season, new Memphis Grizzlies head coach Dave Joerger was trying to get the team to play a little more up-tempo than they have in recent seasons. The results, however, were not fruitful as the Grizzlies fell into the category of teams with playoff expectations that fell short early on of looking like a playoff team.
As of late, though, the Grizzlies have been playing much better basketball and have looked much more like the team that we have gotten accustomed to in recent seasons. They have been playing blue-collar basketball, grinding out games with toughness and it has resulted in loads more success for this team. The only real difference is that they have been without Marc Gasol as of late because of injuries.
Though the immediate reaction when looking at Gasol’s absence from the Grizzlies might be to first say that they still have Kosta Koufos and then to say that their defense might be a little less effective, one of the ways that this team has been negatively affected is the loss of what Gasol brings to the offense.
I’ve discussed at length before what Gasol brings to this team offensively. The Grizzlies aren’t a potent offensive team with or without Gasol, but Gasol at least adds the element of being a solid scorer and facilitator that can stretch the defense or wear them down with physicality. The negative effects of not having Gasol were on display against the Los Angeles Clippers on Thursday night.
The Grizzlies shot just 37.7 percent from the field and just 23.1 percent from three on their way to a 101-81 loss to the Clips. Their offense, as it does at times and more often does with Gasol out, looked disheveled and didn’t seem in any kind of rhythm.
Though this is just one game against a good team, the Grizzlies have a tendency to have these games relatively often whether Gasol is healthy or not. They simply aren’t a very gifted offensive team. Though they can still play defense, with the way teams in the West can score, their lackluster games on offense will ultimately prove to be their fatal flaw.