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Final Grades of the Preseason: Memphis Grizzlies Starters

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The season is just around the corner, and I'm handing out final grades to the presumed starters of the 2014-15 roster.

Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

(FINALLLLYYY) Preseason is over. Let's all admit it, we're counting down the days (maybe even hours) until Grizzlies Live! airs this Wednesday. After months and months of speculation, rumors, and wishful thinking, the season is just about to arrive. And whew, was it a long wait or what? Last season's ending left a bitter taste in everyone's mouths, and now we want revenge badly, if not ravenously. Because, man, I don't like losing. Especially to the... *gags* OKC Thunder. As many are in the heat of the school season right now, I thought handing out some final grades to the official roster before we tip off on Wednesday would be appropriate.

Mike Conley: A

Mike, you had us a little worried wearing the boot around this offseason. Fortunately, it doesn't seem to be bother him much now. Mike's ppg performances when he played more than twenty minutes were as follows: 23, 4, 11, 10. And he averaged 4.25 assists in those games. I think most of us have high expectations this season for Conley, and I hope he fulfills them. For example, we all hope that Conley will repeat his last season's performance (in fact, be even better) and make the All-Star team this year, as it seems long overdue.

Courtney Lee: B-

Consistency. Consistency. Consistency. Unfortunately, this is the word constantly barked at Courtney Lee. He struggled with consistency in the last run of the season. And that's a problem. Recently, Joerger announced Tony Allen and Lee would start. At least for now, that throws Quincy Pondexter's dreams of being a starter this season out the window. But Lee has a short leash, and he is being given another chance to fulfill his true potential, which is of a solid starter who can knock down a few threes at a consistent clip. Here's a look at his stats (DNP vs. Hawks and Cavs):

  • vs. Bucks: 7 points & 1 assist
  • vs. Rockets: 8 points & 0 assists
  • vs. OKC: 10 points & 1 assist
  • vs. Flamengo: 12 points & 5 assist
  • vs. Mavs: 1 point & 0 assists (sprained ankle during this game)
  • vs. Heat: 5 points & 2 assists

Despite some decent preseason games, I'm still wondering about his consistency. However, I see sparks of brilliance with great finishes at the rim and some three's. But Quincy's looking over his shoulder, waiting for his chance.........

Tony Allen: C+

We all know what we're getting from Tony. These things are:

  • Steals
  • Around-the-rim shots
  • Airball threes...
  • Hilarious-yet-sometimes-maddening antics
  • Vocal presence
  • Flexing.
  • Grit n' Grind mentality
  • Great defense

Yep, that pretty much sums up the Grindfather. And while his terribly missed jumpers scare me, his defense has been and will continue to be solid.

Zach Randolph: B

To repeat what some have already said, I doubt Zach cares too much about this preseason stuff. Nevertheless, he had to participate. And that resulted in some lackluster performances mixed with some encouraging ones. Similar to Allen, we basically know what we're getting with Zach. His best performances came against the Hawks and Flamengo: 10 points and 8 rebounds. Unfortunately, one has to worry if his numbers will decline this season, but the optimistic side of me says he'll average closer to last year at around 16 ppg and 9 rebounds.

Marc Gasol: A++

I seriously can't stop gushing over Gasol's performances as of late. While I expected him to be awesome due to his great World Cup performance, I don't know if I expected such an... aggressive? Marc Gasol. I'm used to the total (and sometimes detrimental) selflessness of his style of play. But instead, Gasol has taken control. He's keeping his word that he'll "be more aggressive" this season with a combined 61 shots taken this preseason. He's hitting midrange jumpers, performing beautiful moves to the basket, and just flat out being a beast at basketball. Did I mention I can't wait for the season to start?

BONUS: Quincy Pondexter: B+

With a less than desirable start to his preseason run, Quincy finished up with 16, 13, 18, and 15 point performances (DNP vs. Miami). Perhaps Quincy is finally realizing his role of, well, being  a role player. If so, that bodes well for this team, which needs role players like Quincy to knock down perimeter shots. Quincy can spread the floor for Gasol and Randolph, and he can provide some consistent shooting. As long as he recognizes his role, Quincy can really fulfill his potential.

Put however much stock into preseason as you want, but it's nice to see the overall feel of the team and see the different lineups to be used this season. And now, commence your final predictions, over reactions, excitement, and more below in the comments.