Take a wild guess. The Grizzlies need to match, likely better, or if necessary make as many irresistible bribes as they can to best any offer made to restricted free agent center Marc Gasol. Memphis’s foundation, the one that came a game away from the Western Conference Finals last year, was set with Gasol smack dab in the middle. His ability to take scoring opportunities as they present themselves while consistently tending to other areas of the game - solid rebounding, smart passing and defending the paint - works in harmony with Zach Randolph’s high-volume, high-exposure approach.
2. What are the team’s biggest strengths & weaknesses? (so far)
Not to sound like Michael Scott here, but the Grizzlies’ biggest strength last season could become the biggest weakness depending on how long the lockout drags on and on how much one believes momentum can last. Memphis caught fire towards the regular season’s end and into the postseason because their style of play developed into something recognizable. Even if what we were seeing was oftentimes on-court craziness, we could still pick it out as such. They played and played-out the "Grit and Grind" theme, punishing the opposition inside with diverse ways of attacking the rim. Defensively they played with an opportunistic reckless abandon, always looking to turn a snowball into an avalanche.
And I don’t necessarily believe that a surge of momentum, however you want to define it, can carry over from one season to the next, but it’s worth remembering that what the Grizzlies formed in the springtime doesn’t have the support of even a few years worth of experience behind it. This was something growing stronger right before us, right before the lockout. Can they pick up where they left off, or will the Grizzlies have to relearn some of what made them so dangerous? And will they be doing so with or without last season’s roster intact? Their biggest strength was the whole that the parts developed into, through getting to know each other on the floor. The most glaring weakness I can see, so far, is that they can’t continue the process.
Oh, and also, they aren’t too good as a team shooting from long-range.
3. If there is no season in 2011-12, how is your team set up for 2012?
4. If you could make one change to the NBA's new CBA, what would it be?
Other than making it so that it existed? Actually, that’s pretty much the only change I’d make at this point. Well that and the hope that, should revenue sharing be implemented, owners will spend their money in smarter ways, with some degree of thought or rationale included. This along with changes such as shortened contracts would make it easier for franchises with smaller payrolls to be afforded some room for error, which is, I believe, a good thing. Funny coming from the Grizzlies blog, I know.
5. If one were to power rank the Western Conference as of right now, where do the Grizzlies stand?
I’d put the Grizzlies jostling between the fourth and fifth spot with the Denver Nuggets, behind the Dallas Mavericks (for obvious reasons), Oklahoma City Thunder (for Kevin Durant reasons), and Los Angeles Lakers (for Hey, They’re Still the Lakers reasons).