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A Hello From the New (And Improved?) Straight Outta Vancouver

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The Memphis Grizzlies will enter the post All-Star break portion of the season with a couple of new bloggers here at Straight Outta Vancouver, and, more importantly, without Rudy Gay for a month or so. I realize that probably wasn't the trade you were looking for, but we can only hope for better news from here on out.

The silver living around the injury is that Gay will not be missed simply because he's the franchise guy with the fattest contract.  There's bigger things afoot in Memphis this season aside from the "is he worth it?" narrative, thank goodness. Gay's absence looms large because the Grizzlies are right in the thick of things in the Western Conference playoff picture.

They're 8-2 over their last ten, riding a four-game winning streak into the break, and are currently tied with Utah for the eighth and final playoff spot.  As far as things to be excited about, there's three. A potential fourth is that the Jazz haven't won since Jerry Sloan stepped down as coach and began his second career in poking pins into Deron Williams voodoo dolls, allegedly, but that probably doesn't count. Denver, New Orleans and Portland are also all within the Grizzlies' reach thanks to the strong pre-All Star stretch. With 25 games left to the season, it's all there for the taking.

Of course, that was mostly accomplished with Rudy Gay's contributions in tow. In that sense, the All-Star break came at a good time (it's too strange to say the injury did the same but, yeah, maybe). Lionel Hollins and the team have now had about a week to chart how things will function for the next month or so, and we've all equally had some time to look down possible imaginary roads.

The question of whether management takes this as an omen and staples signs around the NBA neighborhood announcing the Hasheem Thabeet/Zach Randolph/O.J. Mayo yard sale officially open for business, simultaneously slamming a hefty dent into any postseason plans (Thabeet not included in said dent-making) could quickly change the outlook of the season. With the trade deadline looming this week, we can only wait and see for now.

Major moves aside, all is not lost for this team, not by a long shot. It just means the Grizzlies are going to need to see more good minutes from the likes of Sam Young, Tony Allen, Darrell Arthur, Greivis Vasquez - maybe even Xavier Henry - that make up an athletic rotation of positional 'tweeners with potential and valuable skills. We're going to need more of the attacking and aggressive Mike Conley . A more assertive Marc Gasol and consistently focused play from Zach Randolph will continue to help in the paint. O.J. Mayo will need to re-assimilate quickly. It probably won't be pretty all the time, it's not ideal, but the Grizzlies have resources on hand to hold serve until Gay returns.  There's less slack and more to be picked up, if that makes any sense at all, but it's do-able.

Whatever happens, we here at Straight Outta Vancouver will be handling it on our end. We want to be your go-to source for Memphis Grizzlies stuff, serious and not, real or imagined. This is your site so much as it is ours. A pro basketball team is a terrible thing to waste, not to mention one with so many reasons to watch as these Grizzlies have. The playoffs are within reach, so let's have some fun, shall we?