The Grizzlies are currently in play to get Mike Conley AND Chandler Parsons. While this will be great for the beasts of Beale Street, there are other free agents out there that have skill sets that could help the Grizzlies either as specialists or as key bench cogs. Let's run through a couple of those real quick.
#1: J. R. Smith
Analysis: Ok, so I know what you all are thinking. "J.R. Smith? are you crazy!!?' But hear me out. Yes he's just won a championship. Yes he is probably going to stay in Cleveland. Yes he's 30 years old. But with the increased uncertainty surrounding Dwyane Wade in Miami, the Cavaliers may feel they have a chance to get him to "the land", and if that's the case, then J.R. Smith is the #1 candidate to leave for other pastures. But let's look at what he would bring the Grizzlies. J.R. is a good shooter who can be an absolute lights out shooter both from range and also off the dribble who has finally learned to let his shot making fit into a normal NBA offense.
He can attack off the dribble and still get to the lane some, and his defensive effort and intensity has definitely picked up to more than passable, actually progressing a little above average. If he did come to Memphis he would definitely be slotted right in as the starting two guard. The likelihood of him leaving Cleveland? To me, not likely. But there is always a chance.
#2: Ryan Anderson
Thoughts: Why not? The negatives: his defense is definitely lacking, his lateral movement almost non existent. He doesn't have great strength in the post. He's also going to come with a hefty price line. The positives? He is a TREMENDOUS shooter, the second best shooting big in the NBA next to Dirk Nowitzki. There are not many players in the modern NBA who can shoot the ball like Anderson, and he can do it in a variety of ways- from the post, off the dribble, spot up catch-and-shoot, from the corners, up top, the wing, wherever. He immediately diversifies the Memphis offense, especially from the perimeter. I also feel that with the strong defense the Grizzlies have, anchored by the former Defensive Player of the Year Marc Gasol, that Anderson's defensive damage would be lessened. He's a player with a high basketball I.Q, he gives maximum effort, and he'd fit right in with the Grizzlies.
#3: Jeff Green
#3: Marvin Williams
Thoughts: Another solid stretch 4. He had career numbers in 3 point shooting (40 percent) and rebounding (6.4 a game) He can swing between small forward and power forward, and he has learned to throw his weight around and become a decent defender, particularly in the post. He's a solid pro and will probably take a deal that's about his value. He's also still just 29, even though he's been in the league since 2005. He can definitely come in when the Grizzlies want to space the floor, and he will help some with rebounding while he's out there. In addition, his fluidity between the forward positions still allows the Grizzlies to play the oft-injured Brandan Wright and Jarell Martin, without significantly limiting their minutes.
#4: Evan Fournier
Thoughts: He could be the Grizzlies starting two guard of the future. Had himself a great year with the Magic, averaging 17 points and 3 assists per 36 minutes. He also had shooting splits of 46-40-84. He's only 23 years old and has plenty of potential. He's evolved as a ball handler and play maker, and is already comfortable playing off the ball and shooting coming off of down screens and curl actions. He's a restricted free agent, and the Magic want to keep him, but you can always take a shot.
#5 Eric Gordon
Thoughts: I know, I know, ERIC GORDON? The Eric Gordon who hasn't played more than 64 games since his rookie year? The Eric Gordon who no one knows if he can hold up a whole season? The Eric Gordon who went from being a blossoming two guard of the future to a player lucky if he get's a good pay day with some years attached? Yes. That Eric Gordon.
And why? For two reasons. One, he is only 27, and all of the injuries he's had may have preserved some of the wear and tear others his age who have played all of those games might be experiencing. I can't think of anyone that fits my example better than Grant Hill. Yes, his career was wracked with injury, however once he found a good home with a good training staff combined with the relatively low milage on his knees, his career continued with several productive years right up to his retirement at 41. Yes it's a stretch, but remember, these are "the other guys", not top priorities.
The other reason is that Eric Gordon is pretty good at shooting the rock from three. He is 38 percent for his career from behind the arc, and when he played he was the lone long distance threat for New Orleans. He also handles and passes the ball well enough to operate as a combo guard, and can still go off for some scoring explosions. I would recommend a quick big money deal, but for only a couple of years (as in 2) and see if he's worth that investment. Who knows? It could pay off.
These are my five free agency picks to look at. I wouldn't be blown away if any of them were signed, I don't even know if I'd be that happy. But I would see the value of these FA's and what they bring to the table.
What under the radar FA's could come into Memphis and fill a role in your opinion? Let me know in the poll and the comments below. Until then Grizzlies fans, keep grinding.