The Memphis Grizzlies will sadly not make the NBA playoffs in 2015. The tenacious bears were quite successful in their 2013-2014 campaign, but will not enjoy that same level of success going forward unless some key changes are made.
Memphis has had one of the quietest offseasons in the league. The only signing has been of rapidly aging Vince Carter. He’s a strong veteran that provides great shooting power, but he is not the man that will push this team forward. He merely cancels out the loss of Mike Miller to the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Furthermore, the Grizzlies chose not to re-sign Ed Davis or James Johnson. They were not on the level of Rudy Gay that they let go before this past season, but were still key components of the success that Memphis has experienced. Not only did they fail to re-sign three players that helped guide the team to the playoffs, they have only been able to sign Carter and first-round draft pick Jordan Adams.
No improvements are on the horizon for Memphis, and for a team that struggled with offensive consistency, the horizon isn’t looking as bright as it once was. Tony Allen is simply not productive enough. He’s a great backup for Courtney Lee, but for $5 million dollars a year he needs to average more than nine points per game. I believe he should be traded to not only clear up some cap space, but also to add some young prospects that can grow in David Joerger‘s system.
Additionally, Tayshaun Prince is not consistent enough for the small forward position. Carter should start at this spot and Prince should be traded immediately. He is entering the last year of his contract and is set to receive over $7 million dollars. Memphis cannot afford to keep Prince when he averaged less than seven points per game last season.
The league is adapting to defending against the big men of Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph. The Grizzlies will have to add more firepower soon to counteract the greater acknowledgement of the men down low.
I believe Joerger is a great coach and has the basketball intelligence to make just about any team competitive. He is an innovator in tactical approaches, but he will struggle to pull off a similar run with less to work with than he had last season. Memphis should trade both Allen and Prince in order to make a stronger playoff push by adding more consistent role players.
If a trade is not completed before next year, then the Grizzlies will be watching the 2015 playoffs from home.