The Memphis Grizzlies have been one of the biggest disappointments in the NBA so far this season. After reaching the Western Conference Finals a year ago, they brought back almost the same exact team and their same staring five. A lot of their struggles can be attributed to the loss of Marc Gasol who is the defending Defensive Player of the Year winner. Without Gasol, they have had to rely more on their outside game which has failed them for most of the season.
In Tony Allen and Tayshaun Prince they have two outstanding defensive players at shooting guard and small forward but two below average three point shooters. Mike Conley is a very inconsistent and streaky shooter who can disappear for stretches. Their best outside shooter is Mike Miller who is shooting nearly 46 percent from behind the arc but plays only 23 minutes per game.
On Monday night against a Chicago Bulls team that is almost their spitting image they missed all five of their three-point shots. With Joakim Noah and Carlos Boozer shutting down Zach Randolph and James Johnson, the inability of Memphis to hit a three cost them the game.
Chicago won 95-91 and outscored Memphis 15-0 from three-point range. The Grizzlies came into the game ranked 18th in the league in three-point percentage but dead last in makes per game. Memphis averages only five makes per game which is less than half of what the Portland Trail Blazers make at 10.3 per game.
They have not been able to replace O.J. Mayo since he left for the Dallas Mavericks, but they need to find a bench guy that can come in along with Miller and spread the floor. They are running into the same problems that the Los Angeles Clippers had last year, and Memphis knows first hand what happens when you can’t make three pointers in the playoffs. They eliminated the Clippers last year, but if they can’t figure it out they may be out of the race before Gasol gets back.