The Grizzlies have a dream. It's a simple dream, but not something that is simple to achieve. The Grizzlies dream of building a team like the Spurs.
The Grizzlies aren't the only teams in the league trying to copy the Spurs model, but they are the ones the closest to replicating the kind of team that the Spurs have. The Spurs have won three championships with their big three of Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobli. These are three hall of famers who are going to be hard to replicate.
The Grizzlies have had a big four since the 2011 playoff victory over the Spurs. Zach Randolph, Marc Gasol, Mike Conley and Tony Allen. That has been the most successful core the Grizzlies have ever had, but they still have not been successful in bringing a championship to the Bluff City. The closest they have come was in the 2013 Playoffs when they were destroyed in four games by the San Antonio Spurs, who they are now trying to emulate.
There is a problem now for the Grizzlies. If you are following the Spurs model of moving the ball and creating space, two of the four core guys that you have do not fit the mold. Zach Randolph stops the ball and eats up space while Tony Allen cannot shoot and is wild with the ball. There is no doubt that Memphis Grizzlies basketball would not be what it is today without Allen and Randolph, but if you look into the future of the Grizzlies the dynamic duo that made the Grizzlies who they are today seems to be missing even though they are under contract.
Zach Randolph signed an extension tying him to the Grizzlies until the 2016-2017 season. Tony Allen signed a contract before the 2013-2014 keeping him in Memphis until the same season. This is only a stopgap so that the Grizzlies can compete while the younger talent develops. They aren't winning a championship as currently constructed, but they can compete in the season and in the playoffs.
The Grizzlies have dreamed of building a team around Gasol and Conley much like the Spurs have done with Duncan, Parker and Ginobli. Marc Gasol is playing the Tim Duncan role in which he holds down the defense and can turn into a number one option when you need him on offense. Mike Conley is emulating Tony Parker out on the floor with his ability to run the pick and roll and shot making ability. They have been missing a playmaker like Manu Ginobli, but Jordan Adams could be the guy to fill that role.
As of right now, Jordan Adams is not ready for NBA action. Like most rookies Adams will need time to adjust to the NBA speed and physical nature. He won't play much in the first half of the season, but I expect him to make a case for a role in the second half. His three point shooting could force him into the lineup which would allow him to show off his other gifts.
Jordan Adams is a similar player to Ginobli, both are crafty when getting to the rim and not the most athletic guys around. Adams is less athletic, but looks to be a better three point shooter than Ginobli is. Most importantly Adams goes to the rim and gets to the free throw line like Ginobli. He has shown he can be a better free throw shooter than Ginobli by shooting a good percentage in college and in summer league. That's important because the Grizzlies don't have anyone going to the free throw line. Defensively Adams is going to wreak havoc in the passing lanes with his long arms and great instincts, but his on ball defending is going to need some work.
Adams wasn't the best prospect for right now on the draft board, but he was the best for the future. The Grizzlies could have easily taken Rodney Hood, who fits into the team you are right now, but not the team you want to be in the future. I have no doubt in my mind that Adams can play a similar role to Ginobli and could be good enough to stand alongside Gasol and Conley as the future of the Grizzlies.