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Is Tony Allen's injury a good thing?

Wayne Ellington may be starting long-term for Lionel Hollins.


In a long NBA season, things rarely go as planned.

Injuries come at the most inopportune times and can change a team’s fortunes, both short and long term. Sometimes, though, losing a player to injury can actually be a good thing.....

Tony Allen has been starting at the 2-spot for Memphis the past few seasons, epitomizing the nickname 'Grindhouse'. But, as much as head coach Lionel Hollins would like a 3-point shooter out there to space for Z-Bo & Marc inside, it appears that it would take a shooter the likes of Ray Allen or Reggie Miller to get him to move Tony to the bench.

TA’s defense and leadership is a huge part of this team's DNA. But, again, injuries have a way of changing things. Tony Allen sprained his groin this week, paving the way for long-range shooter Wayne Ellington to start at SG. This team is built on inside-out play and is quietly desperate for a long-range threat alongside Mike Conley in the backcourt.

Opposing defenses have been able to help off of Tony the past few seasons, the only way of neutralizing Randolph and Gasol inside. Wayne doesn’t have to make 7 three’s like he did vs Miami recently, he just needs to be there to help space the floor and keep defenses honest.

If the Grizzlies had been able to acquire Ray Allen last season or again this past summer, I think most people would consider them a title contender. The presence of Ellington in the starting lineup can be enough to accomplish that. After the Miami win, Wayne may have hinted at things to come. "I’m looking to really step my game up…the role for myself, a shooter, is wide open."

Tony will likely return to the starting lineup when he’s healthy, but the Grizzlies just might have a better future with the shooter (Ellington) starting and the defender (Allen) coming off the bench.

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