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Head Coach Dave Joerger Reveals Memphis Grizzlies Starting Lineup

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This morning on the Geoff Calkins Show on 92.9 ESPN, Dave Joerger announced who will start on the wings alongside Mike Conley, Zach Randolph, and Marc Gasol.

Joe Murphy/NBA Getty Images

Thank God...

Well, we finally got an answer from Coach Joerger on who's going to start for the Grizzlies on the wings come opening night: Courtney Lee at Shooting Guard and Tony Allen at Small Forward. While there's no way to determine how that will affect the distribution of minutes for a deep bench of wing players, we can finally cross one of the biggest question marks heading into the season off the list. And, for whatever it's worth, I think Joerger deserves some credit for making the correct move here.

There have been more than a few differing opinions on who should round out the starting five after our "Big Three" of Conley, Gasol, and Z-Bo, and one of the prevailing notions was that Tony Allen couldn't start at SF because he lacked the size needed to guard typical NBA 3's. Yea . . . no. Remember this?

Mr. Unreliable

Tony Allen's Size Preventing Him From Guarding Durant

I'm a little higher on Courtney Lee than some of my colleagues here at GBB. Yes, he certainly regressed following his blazing start last year, but he's a respected scorer and a decent two-way player with the ability to relieve Conley of at least some of the ball-handling duties. In my opinion, Courtney's starting spot was never really in jeopardy, it was really a matter of who Joerger wanted to start at the 3 between Allen, Vince Carter, Quincy Pondexter, and Tayshaun Prince.

The most obvious other name was Vince Carter, but the guy remade himself in Dallas as a 6th Man - he was runner-up for 6th Man of the Year last season - and it seemed foolish to a) mess with a good thing, and b) put additional pressure or wear and tear on 37-year-old legs when it wasn't absolutely necessary. It was clear that Tayshaun's days as a starter were behind him after last year's woes, but many worried that Joerger had his eyes on Q-Pon as the answer at the 3-spot, even after the infamous Brooklyn stare-down that earned him a bunch of DNP-CD's last season before he injured himself. I'm not gonna lie, I'm not a huge Pondexter fan (I haven't really forgiven that stare-down myself, and I still can't believe Lionel Hollins forced management into trading Greivis Vasquez for him). I also thought it would have been insane to give Q-Pon a starting position at Tony's expense, mostly because Tony is objectively and qualitatively a far superior basketball player than Quincy, but also because Tony and other guys on the team would resent Coach Joerger. NBA players love to talk about how "it's a business," but these guys take the symbolic stuff really seriously; just recall how often you heard the players talk about how much reaching 50 wins meant last season. It's utterly meaningless, but in the minds of NBA players, 50-win seasons, much like starting spots, represent legitimate accomplishments.

So finally, we can start breaking down rotations and looking at the depth chart in earnest. Here's how things break down currently (assuming we don't sign any of the training camp invitees unexpectedly).

Position

Starter

Backup

Reserve

Point Guard

Mike Conley

Beno Udrih

Nick Calathes

Shooting Guard

Courtney Lee

Quincy Pondexter

Jordan Adams

Small Forward

Tony Allen

Vince Carter

Tayshaun Prince

Power Forward

Zach Randolph

Jon Leuer

Jarnell Stokes

Center

Marc Gasol

Kosta Koufos

N/A

That chart makes me really excited about the season. Happy Starting Lineup Day everybody!