clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Thin Beneath My Wings: Grizzlies lack experience, depth at wing positions

New, comments

In spite of a highly successful offseason, the Grizzlies are still missing veteran depth at key positions.

Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

Overall, the Grizzlies' offseason has been a rousing success. The team managed to bring in Chandler Parsons, the sort of outside shooting threat with the ability to create shots that the team has needed for so long. They brought back "Our Conductor" Mike Conley. They also added Troy Daniels, James Ennis, and Andrew Harrison on cheap contracts, and brought in Wade Baldwin IV, Deyonta Davis, and a couple of stashed prospects via the draft. It's really hard to picture Memphis having a better summer.

And yet, in spite of all that success, it still feels like there's something missing.

That something? Veteran presence on the wing.

As of right now, behind Tony Allen and Chandler Parsons, the Grizzlies' roster at the wing is as follows: Vince Carter (old); Troy Daniels (unproven); James Ennis (also unproven); and Jordan Adams (injured/might not actually exist). They're also likely to play Baldwin, a rookie, at the two at some point.

To sum it up, the only player with significant experience that the Grizzlies have outside of their projected starters is Vince Carter. That's it. That's the list. Every other player is either a rookie, or hasn't logged enough playing time to be a proven NBA commodity. For a team that just committed max contracts to Marc Gasol and Mike Conley in back-to-back offseasons, and appears to be making a strong push to remain competitive throughout the last part of its window, that's a rather precarious position to be in.

Of course, it feels borderline absurd to bemoan lack of experience when, for so long, fans have been consistently frustrated by the team's unwillingness to give significant playing time and meaningful minutes to young players. But the youth movement has happened seemingly overnight, and the Grizzlies feel like they're operating without a safety net. If either Conley, Allen, or Parsons misses significant playing time, the Grizzlies are rolling the dice with the roster as it stands currently.

Memphis has had a great offseason, but there still may be work to be done.

The risk level isn't insubstantial, either. Allen will turn 35 this season, Vince will hit 40, and Chandler Parsons' knee feels about as safe a bet as a roulette wheel. If the young pieces either aren't ready or just can't play, Memphis could find itself scrambling to find competent players to put around Conley and Gasol. With the memory of last season's snake-bitten team still fresh in the memory, it seems it would behoove the Grizzlies to add one more veteran wing as a contingency plan.

It bears mentioning that some of this is part of the plan. So much of the criticism of the front office has centered around its shortsightedness, the will to sacrifice tomorrow for today. The new youth movement speaks to something of a shift in culture. Now there's an eye to the future, a conscious effort to develop young players into contributors.

It's also worth pointing out that this likely isn't the final roster, either. Conley's signing removes a little, though not too much, opportunity, but there are also trades that could be executed. The Grizzlies still have the opportunity to add a little more veteran depth to the wing, though their means are admittedly limited. Still, it's worth exploring options to add a player who's a known quantity to augment the young stable of players that the Grizzlies have managed to assemble so far.

The offseason to this point has been a pleasant surprise for Grizz fans, as the front office have made shrewd moves to improve the team in the short run, while also managing to add young players that they can hopefully develop. However, with a lack of veteran depth outside of their projected starters, they're in a perilous position should injuries hit and their young players fail to perform. As it stands, the Grizzlies could still look to use their (somewhat limited) means to bolster their wing depth with a proven veteran in case their current plans don't pan out.

Follow @sbngrizzlies