Welcome back to the GBB Mailbag! The Memphis Grizzlies are on an improbable four-game winning streak, and as the schedule toughens up this next week it will be interesting to see if Memphis, now with Zach Randolph back in the fold, can find a way to pick up perhaps even more improbable wins over the Warriors and Cavaliers over the next few days.
This week’s Mailbag is made up of questions from our wonderful Facebook followers! Our participating panel includes Gameday Coverage Co-Editors Grace Baker and Jay Siskin, as well as Gameday Coverage Writer Gabriel Alvarez. Let’s get right to it.
QUESTION ONE: Should Troy Daniels be starting even when the whole roster is healthy? From Cameron Metz on Facebook.
GRACE BAKER (@GraceBaker901)- While Troy Daniels has been awesome as of late, I still feel he should come off the bench as a spark for the second unit. I like the starting lineup of Conley/Allen/Parsons/Green/Gasol the best still, but Daniels has definitely proved that he deserves consistent minutes off the bench and can be trusted down the stretch if needed. I still like Tony Allen starting alongside Chandler Parsons, though, so I say keep Daniels on the bench even after the roster is fully healthy. Daniels provides shooting and energy off the bench for the Grizzlies when the roster is healthy.
GABRIEL ALVAREZ- That option would ensure more floor spacing but, in return, the Grizzlies would need to bench Tony Allen, their best defensive player on the wing. Daniels and Parsons are not defensive specialists, and the opponents' wing players would take advantage. Conley, Gasol, and Parsons should generate enough points for the starting lineup without resorting to Daniels. Z-Bo and Daniels could provide a huge spark off the bench. Together with Ennis, Baldwin/Harrison, and Carter, they would constitute a solid second unit mixing both experience and youth.
JAY SISKIN (@jaysiskin)- Troy Daniels needs to continue to come off the bench, but with more minutes. Here's why: Don't fix what's not broken. If Daniels can continue to provide scoring off the bench, that makes a healthy Memphis team stronger. One of the biggest questions coming into the season was the bench for the Grizzlies. With injuries, the bench has done a great job this season.
2. Should Mike Conley, if able, come back before the initial six week time frame for his injury? From Zach Johnson on Facebook.
BAKER- Mike Conley should take as much time as he needs to get FULLY healthy. The last thing Memphis needs is for him to come back early and not fully well, and get hurt again. That would just result in him being out even longer, which would be disastrous. If Conley is fully healthy by six weeks, great. If not, he needs to just sit out. It's not worth the risk to bring him back early, in my opinion.
ALVAREZ- Conley should come back when healthy. We definitely need him back in the starting lineup as soon as possible, but his health comes first. It’s better to be safe than sorry. The 'Birdman' Chris Andersen and former NBA players Wally Szczerbiak and Jason Thompson missed less than a month with the same problem. Under the same circumstances, the Brazilian soccer star Neymar Jr, however, only returned to team practice after nearly six weeks. Time will tell about the evolution of Conley's injury.
SISKIN- Mike Conley should play if he's 100 percent healthy. If he's at 99 percent, then sit him out. Back injuries are serious and if you come back too soon, then it will get worse. Conley is an important piece to this year's team. But he's also an important piece for the future. We all want to see Conley play, but if it takes 8 or even 10 weeks to get 100 percent healthy, the training staff must hold him out.
3. How do you feel about the Point Guard situation with Toney Douglas as a Grizzly (for now)?- From GBB Writer Corban Ford on Facebook.
BAKER- Having Toney Douglas adds some veteran experience to the point guard position, but the Grizzlies' situation at that spot is still shaky. Players like Andrew Harrison and Wade Baldwin have to step up. Even before Mike Conley was injured, many questioned the backup point guard situation. At least the Grizzlies found someone to help out in that department, for now. Douglas' veteran experience will be helpful in this case.
ALVAREZ- I wonder if Toney Douglas will actually play the point guard position. He can certainly provide three point shooting capacity and decent defense, but I’m skeptical about his ability to run the team. He may actually play next to Harrison or Baldwin. I would hate to see Douglas eating up Baldwin's minutes. To me, Baldwin has the potential to become a good NBA player and, among the three currently active Grizzlies point guards, he is by far the one with the highest ceiling. His passing skills and athleticism are outstanding. He needs to improve on defense and become a reliable shooter, though, but that should come as part of his development.
SISKIN- I preferred Jarrett Jack over Toney Douglas, because Jack has shown the ability to be a starting point guard in this league. But the Grizzlies needed a healthy point guard, and Jack has questionable knees. Although Jack is healthy now, Memphis made the safe decision. That being said, I don't expect big minutes from Toney anytime soon. Until he learns the playbook, his playing time will be limited.
Thanks to Gabriel, Jay, and Grace for participating this week, and to all who submitted questions for the Mailbag!