With the content schedule a bit sparse, these days, we at SoV figured we'd start putting together a few fun pieces. Stuff we can all sit around and reminisce over. Stuff like, the Top 5 Point Guards in Memphis Grizzlies History. Simple, yet worth our time and consideration.
And with that, we'll be rolling out Top 5 lists for each position, hoping not to upset anyone along the way. (I'm looking at you, Allen Iverson). There are just two points that need to be made before we get started. First, we're looking strictly at a player's tenure with the Grizzlies. Again, I'm looking at you, Allen Iverson. Second, I will be taking the post-season into account when deciding. You have to, right? Oh, and I'll be going off a player's true/natural position.
Simple enough. So, let's get to the Top 5 Point Guards.
5. Chucky Atkins - No offense to Atkins, but this reads to just how underwhelming certain aspects of the Grizzlies franchise have been since it came into existence in 1995. Atkins played just one-plus seasons with the Grizzlies, but remember that he actually was the starting point guard for the team during their 2005-06 playoff run. Sure, they were swept by the Dallas Mavericks in four games, but Atkins played pretty well, aside from Game 1. Make no mistake, he's not your typical No. 5 PG on an all-time Top 5 list, but for our purposes he'll do.
4. Greg Anthony - He started 112 games at point for the Vancouver Grizzlies during the 1995-95 and '96-97 seasons. He actually played pretty well, when healthy, averaging 11.8 points and 6.8 assists over those two seasons. You can actually make the case that Anthony was the best player on the team during his tenure. I guess you can make a similar case for Blue Edwards, who definitely had his moments, and Bryant Reeves, who was the "franchise" player, but Anthony definitely played his role and played it fairly well. In fact, Anthony contributed to more wins on the 1995-96 team than any other player, with a 4.8 Win Shares.
3. Mike Bibby - This is where is gets interesting. First off, it's not to take anything away from Bibby, but it's worth noting he never reached the playoffs while with the Grizzlies. I know that doesn't fall squarely on Bibby's shoulders, especially since it was really a two-man team and Bibby was just a rookie, but it is something to take into consideration. Bibby was at his peak, when it came to making plays, while with the Grizzlies. He averaged 7.8 dimes during his three seasons with the Grizz, which still stands as a franchise record, and a career best for Bibby. That counts for something, right? Bibby had great individual season with the Grizzlies, and it was certainly tough to figure where he fit into the Top 3, but as far as I'm concerned he has to file in at No. 3.
2. Jason Williams - Again, this was a tough choice, but Williams contributed to more wins while with the Grizzlies during his four peak seasons (not counting the '10-11 tenure) than Bibby with a 15.3 Win Shares. His raw numbers are pretty similar to Bibby, with 7.0 dimes per game, though Bibby was a better scorer than J-Will. The other factor is that Williams played in 8 playoff games for the Grizzlies, of course losing each and every one of them. He actually, however, played really well in the 2004-05 playoffs, providing a big scoring punch (17 points per game) when the team could really use one. Given his franchise impact, in helping the Grizzlies get to the playoffs in back-to-back seasons, I had to put him No. 2 on this list.
1. Mike Conley - Hard to believe that Conley is the best point guard in Grizzlies history, isn't it? We've come along way, baby. First off, Conley is the franchise leader among point guards in Win Shares with 16.8. He's also the only point guard in franchise history to win a playoff game. Seven, to be exact. And as we know, it wasn't as if he coasted through the 2010-11 playoffs. He played some 39 minutes of inspired basketball right from the jump, with a really well-played Game One performance against the Spurs. He had his moments where he was a bit over-matched, especially on defense, but all-in-all you can't knock the play of Conley in the 2010-11 playoffs. You can almost make the case that through the playoffs he really earned the spot as the top point guard in Grizzlies franchise history. In this league it's all about winning, and that's what made Conley stand out from the crowd.