Grizz Claus is watching you. - Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports
The Grizzlies aren't playing today, but if they were, we would've asked Santa for a big win. Instead, here are things we asked Santa Claus for on behalf of the Grizzlies.
It’s the time of year for giving gifts. So far, the Grizzlies’ season has been a gift of sorts — no one was expecting the team to get off to the hot start they did, with the best record in the NBA for a while. That didn’t last; a rough patch sent their record to 18–7. But still: 18–7!
I don’t think Santa gives gifts to NBA teams, but if he does, here’s our wish list for the Grizzlies:
All-Star bids! One for Marc Gasol, and one for Zach Randolph. I don’t think Rudy Gay’s play has been up to that level this year, and even though Mike Conley has been great, there’s only room for so many point guards. But Marc and Zach? They should be there.
A longer leash and some confidence for Jerryd Bayless. Bayless has been up and down as the backup point guard this year. At one point he was playing badly and the rumor floated around that the Grizzlies were working out the mummified remains of Mike Bibby. Since then, Bayless’s play has improved, but he’s still not as consistent as he needs to be to make sure Mike Conley doens’t need to spend 40 minutes on the floor. If Bayless can really find his rhythm in the Grizzlies’ offense, it’s going to make the team that much better.
Some minutes for Hamed Haddadi. He’s barely played this year since the return of Darrell Arthur from injury. He may not be much of a scorer, but he’s a rebounding machine. He played 12 minutes against the Utah Jazz and came away with 8 rebounds! (Of course, he fouls a lot, too, so there’s some bad with the good.) It seems like there should be a way to use Haddadi more effectively than what Lionel Hollins is doing at the moment. And fans (including SoV) like him. More minutes, please.
A consistent long-range scoring threat. Wayne Ellington is streaky, Quincy Pondexter is sometimes too busy doing other things on the court to camp out in the corners, and Josh Selby can’t get on the court. We talked about this in the NBA Trade Season piece last week, but somebody like J.J. Redick would really help spread out defenses and keep teams from packing the paint. Right now, the book on the Grizzlies is to pack the paint on defense, and to get out in transition on offense. A real, consistent shooting guard would go a long way toward fixing that.
Sounds throwbacks. We’ve seen Memphis Pros throwback jerseys. We’ve seen Memphis Tams throwback jerseys. But we’ve yet to see the coolest Memphis ABA logo and jersey as a throwback: the Memphis Sounds. In fact, I wouldn’t be the least bit upset if the team changed their name to the Sounds and adopted this logo and font. Makes more sense than the Grizzlies.
What’d I miss? What’s your holiday wish list for the Grizzlies? Think about that while you’re falling asleep from Christmas dinner and watching basketball tonight.