(Editor's note: Big thanks to GritGrindAustralia for consistently contributing to the FanPosts!)
On the Marc Gasol Pick and Roll
We've been seeing a bit more of the Marc Gasol Pick and Roll lately, which is great as he can shoot (from closer than when he pops), pass or finish at the rim (due to his gravity defying vertical leap). Playing Gasol at the elbow with our team revolving around him can still work, but hasn't been as effective lately, perhaps due to a combination of Gasol lacking aggression in trying getting his own shot and Lee/Tay not operating as the best cutters.
Conley has fed Gasol on the elbow, and the Grizzlies seem to think just doing this is the goal of the possession. Lee is ready for to catch and shoot and Tay looks flustered because MKG is sticking to him! In this scenario Gasol needs some cutters and a bit of movement to either 1. Feed them for an easy look or 2. Create some space for him to go to work.
(Tay saved the possession and fed Z-bo down low for a hook he missed)
A stagnant offense makes life incredibly easy for the defense, it also makes Al Jefferson look like he can guard Gasol one on one. The Gasol pick and roll forces the defense to react quickly, and particularly with Conley and his mid range jumper running the point, breaks down the opposition into making stupid decisions. Some outcomes? Open jumpers for our shooters (love saying that) or easy scoring opportunities for Gasol and Conley.
In order are : Gasol feeding Mike Miller for a corner 3, Gasol being freed for an open jumper (although he still did fade for no reason) and Marc dunking on the Knicks with little regard for human life.
I was going to write something about how this pick and roll would work well against the Clips, then watched some Deandre tape and thought better of it, as he seemed to fade to the rim much more frequently to just force the jumper. But, lo and behold!, teams are forcing their big men to come out and stop Conley penetrating, another caveat to an enticing combination. (Sorry, reading that sentence must have been horrible)
Giving the reins of our possession to Marc Gasol while he's rolling to the rim has been so much fun lately, and it'd be great to see more of it (particularly against the Thunder in a few days).
On the Playoff Race
A few weeks ago I had myself convinced that I only had to go back to uni in two months. It was really only until i caught up with some friends that i thought, 'shit it only starts in two weeks' and 'shit, i need to re-enrol for uni'.
Coincidentally, before the all-star break, I had myself convinced that the Griz would surge in these last 30 or so games or so whilst the Mavs, Suns and Warriors would fall off the side of a cliff. Then I watched the Bledsoe-less Suns deserve to win against the Rockets (they didn't) and the Mavs let Melo run rampage but still win, and now I'm currently thinking 'shit, the Griz might not make the playoffs'.
The Grizzlies are hitting their stride both offensively and defensively, but so are #6-8 in our conference standings, the only thing for certain is that this last part of the season is going to be quite stressful.
Sitting on Tay at the deadline
Although I do agree that Tayshaun's production doesn't justify his salary, I do think trading him at this deadline would have been a mistake for a few reasons.
Reason 1 : Memphis is currently $755,278 under the luxury tax (via Shamsports), so we're not absolutely desperate to trade him to free ourselves of the tax.
Reason 2 : TA and Tay for JJ Barea and Chase Budinger is a stupid trade for both sides. Imagine a wing combination for Minnesota of Corey Brewer, TA and Tayshaun, their spacing would eternally be Spurs vs Grizzlies WCF.
Reason 3 : His $7 mil salary might have more value next season as an expiring, especially to teams who think that the big agents will opt out this off-season. My guess is they won't and a big fuss will be made about them becoming actual free agents next off-season. Surely we can get Tim Hardaway Jr. for Tayshaun Prince and cap space to sign LeBron Mr. Dolan??!?!!
Reason 4 : My knowledge of the salary cap and all things financial in the NBA is a bit spotty, but I do know that your salary in relation to the tax is calculated on the last day of the season, so Tayshaun's salary doesn't necessarily negate our opportunity to re-sign Ed and James Johnson in the off-season. (correct me if I'm wrong)
(Z-bo, Tay, Ed and JJ this season make about a combined 30 million, surely we can turn this into respectable deals for all 3 if we're planning to trade Tay next season)
I do hate trade talk where players are referred to as salary numbers, but Tay has had a long, successful career and was the starting SF in maybe the best team to win it all (Pistons). He still does have flashes, but next season I suspect the split of minutes will be made up by Pondexter, Lee and Johnson. Even so, I think trading him next season is a much better option than it was at this deadline, as its my understanding that trading him next season still gives us room to re-sign players, and could bring us back a nicer piece than Chase and JJ Barea.