The Memphis Grizzlies came into the 2013-14 NBA season hoping to replicate what was arguably the most successful season in the history of their franchise. In the 2012-13 season, the Grizzlies capitalized on Russell Westbrook’s injury in the postseason to make it to the Western Conference Finals, even if they were eventually disposed of with relative ease by the San Antonio Spurs.
However, the 2013-14 season has been a tumultuous road already for the Grizzlies, who sit at a meager 11-15 and out of the current playoff picture in the West. Obviously, the injury to reigning Defensive Player of the Year and arguably this team’s most important player, Marc Gasol, hasn’t helped things, but that’s far from the root of the problem.
One of the chief concerns with this team as they went to work in free agency this summer was trying to add weapons to their bench, largely because this is a team that has been known to have lulls offensively. Undoubtedly this team’s identity begins with their defense and tenacity, but that only takes you so far in this league. You have to have players who can put up points.
Saturday afternoon as the Grizzlies defeated the New York Knicks by a score of 95-87 was a perfect example of the Grizzlies’ lack of offensive weapons. First, the Grizzlies defense was stifling and shut down what the Knicks were trying to do. However, when you come out and only put up 95 points on one of the worst defensive teams in the league, that’s pretty telling of who this Memphis team is.
More than that, outside of Zach Randolph, this team doesn’t have anyone to rely on to score without Gasol in the lineup. Mike Conley and Tony Allen combined for 31 shots on Saturday, which is just something that can’t happen for a successful basketball team in this league.
Getting Gasol back eventually will greatly help the Grizzlies’ efforts, but that also doesn’t change the overall lack of offensive potency in Memphis. When it comes down to it, defense alone might not be enough for the Grizzlies to hang in the West this season.