It's no secret that the Grizzlies have struggled out of the gate with their starters since the All-Star break. Also not so secret is Tony Allen's emotional reaction to being relegated to coming off the bench.*(edit: Spoiler: this isn't my primary reasoning.) And it's hard to blame Tony: if you see your team struggling, it's got to be pretty excruciating to sit and wait for your time on the court. So what do the Grizzlies do about the starting conundrum?
What we know
- The Grizzlies' starters are struggling.
- Neither Tony Allen nor Jeff Green can really shoot.
- Both Tony Allen and Jeff Green are at their best when attacking the basket in close range.
- 80% of Tony Allen's shots come in the paint, making 53%.
- 41% of Jeff Green's shots come in the paint, making 56%.
The first two percentages of those last two stats would suggest that Tony Allen is much better at maximizing his strengths and avoiding his weaknesses than Jeff Green is at this point with the Grizzlies. The fact that Green is still relatively new to the system compared to Allen would support the numbers in that concept. Yes, Green was a part of a large wave of success when he first came over to the Grizzlies in January, but with the way Conley, Gasol, and Randolph were playing at the point, there are a lot of players who would have come in and blended into the winning track that Memphis was playing.
And I won't even dig into the defensive element here. If you've watched the Grizzlies play in 2015 you should know that Tony Allen is an immensely better defender than Jeff Green, even with Allen giving up a decent amount of size to Green.
I'm leaning pretty heavily towards the idea of reinserting the Grindfather into the starting lineup, and much sooner than later. Dave Joerger knows Allen's shortcomings, and his teammates know how to play around them. Although it might be a flawed plan (chaos is usually pretty perfectly flawed), the Grizzlies know how to win with Tony Allen as a starter (see 2011-2014). That game plan is already in Joerger's file cabinet. I'm not so sure that there's one for Jeff Green, but I am quite sure that the process of figuring one out is making everyone uncomfortable.
And this brings me to my true agenda for this post: what do you all think?
Elaborate in the comments below.