I had a hard time watching the 125-88 massacre at FedExForum last night. The Memphis Grizzlies looked horrendous and that is an understatement.
Mike Conley went scoreless in extended minutes for the first time since 2012. The team had a -23 point differential in the third quarter. Nothing positive came out of last night's game which also included injuries to Marc Gasol and JaMychal Green.
The team is in desperate need of three point shooting. Andrew Ford made a great point this morning in his article about why the Grizzlies keep losing to top tier teams. Memphis is now 3-8 on the season against teams above .500. They've shot 20.9 percent in the eight losses.
We've seen some improvement on offense when the Grizzlies go small on the court. Unfortunately Head Coach Dave Joerger hasn't been able to figure out the best lineup to put out on the court when Memphis tries to go small.
Is there really a way for the Grizzlies to find a solution between playing small ball and their traditional grit & grind style? It seems as if the league has already evolved past the traditional two big lineup that Memphis throws out on a nightly basis.
I'm going to make some comparisons with my favorite college hoops team that might not make sense to some. You can argue that the college game and professional game are quite the opposite.
Between 2009-2013 the Missouri Tigers Men's Basketball Team made five straight NCAA Tournament appearances. In that time span, the Tigers never started a big in their lineup who was over 6'8". Grizzlies fans probably remember the short lived DeMarre Carroll experiment.
Carroll was instrumental in leading the Tigers to an Elite 8 appearance during the 2009 NCAA Tournament. The Tigers played a system under Mike Anderson known as "40 minutes of Hell." Carroll played the five spot on the court for the Tigers. The lineup worked for small ball, but when Mizzou played larger teams like Kansas and UConn that season, they struggled to keep up. Small ball can work at times, but a lack of traditional big men can hurt a team like it did to Mizzou.
Although the college game is quite different from professional ball, there can be a mixture between the two. The Grizzlies should not throw out their traditional two big lineup just yet. We're 1/4 of the way through the 2015-16 season and Memphis holds the fourth seed in the Western Conference.
Will a trade heal the wounds on the team? Absolutely not. We've already seen that with the Mario Chalmers trade. It will only be a temporary fix until this team breaks up some of the core pieces. I do not want to see the grit & grind era end any time soon, but in order to be competitive in the Western Conference the Grizzlies will need to make changes.