Last offseason, I wrote a piece talking about how Memphis was Home of the Shooting Blues.
Now, it's time to take another look and see if the Grizzlies have improved their arsenal from last season. Unfortunately, last year Memphis continued to struggle in shooting. The Memphis Grizzlies ranked 29th last season in effective field goal percentage, and they were tied for 21st in offensive efficiency (per basketballreference.com). Last season, Memphis only shot 33% from beyond the arc and ranked 28th in the league (per teamrankings.com).
This offseason, the Grizzlies seemed determined to solve this conundrum. They re-signed Mike Conley, who has proven his shooting abilities already in the past. In addition, they added small forward Chandler Parsons. The former Dallas Maverick shot 41.4% from beyond the arc last season and 49.2% from the field. He has definitely been the most notable new acquisition for the Grizzlies this offseason, and he'll be expected to deliver on the offensive end. He averaged 13.7 PPG in 29.5 minutes per game for the Mavericks last year. However, health problems have plagued him the past couple of seasons, and it will be pivotal that Parsons stays in shape this season.
As long as he does, though, Memphis fans can clearly expect more shots from beyond the arc. Undoubtedly, Parsons will have plenty of available shots within the flow of the Grizzlies' offense. It's important for Parsons to gel with his teammates and adjust to the Grizzlies' style of grind-it-out play, which is already in the process of transforming. With a new coach running the offense, things will surely look different this season. However, it seems Coach David Fizdale has already made it clear he wants to continue the tradition of hard-nosed defense while picking up the pace offensively.
As has been widely documented and studied in past years, opponents tend to pack the paint against the Grizzlies, since Memphis has struggled with having outside perimeter threats on offense. The addition of Chandler Parsons will hopefully take us a large step forward towards solving that problem.
On top of re-signing Conlney and picking up Parsons, the Grizzlies completed a trade with the Charlotte Hornets to acquire shooting guard Troy Daniels. For his career, Daniels has shot 43% from beyond the arc. While he's not a superstar addition, he definitely could contribute offensively this season and be a sneaky good acquisition for the roster. In the end, he may not make much difference, but it's also possible that we may look up later and be thankful the Grizzlies made this trade, especially if any injuries strike (hopefully they won't be as severe as last season). In 11.1 minutes per game, Daniels averaged 5.6 PPG for the Hornets.
In the 2016 NBA Draft, the Grizzlies acquired point guard Wade Baldwin IV. He's already proven his shooting abilities in college ball, as he went 40.6% from beyond the arc at Vanderbilt. It's hard to predict how his skills will transition to the NBA, though. Only time will tell.
Although he's not a new addition, hopefully we'll see more of Jordan Adams this season, who has been plagued with knee injuries since the Grizzlies drafted him. If he'll be in full health this season, and able to contribute on the offensive end, it could make Memphis that much more dangerous. We've seen flashes of brilliance from Adams, while seeing other flashes of not-so-impressive play from the young player. But perhaps more regular minutes and another year under his belt will result in Adams being an important member of the roster this season.
Finally, the Grizzlies signed Andrew Harrison to a three-year deal. After being selected in the NBA draft two years ago by Memphis and bouncing in-and-out of the D League last season, Harrison might get the chance to prove his shooting skills this year.
Several of the moves the Memphis Grizzlies made this offseason are gambles. Young players like Harrison and Baldwin may or may not contribute this season. But acquiring some young sharpshooters definitely was a step forward towards solving the Grizzlies' shooting problem. And the addition of Chandler Parsons definitely helped on this end, and he should be the biggest contributor out of this group of new players on the roster.
It will be interesting to see which of these new additions pan out this year. The Memphis Grizzlies definitely prioritized acquiring shooters. Unlike in years past, Memphis acquired more youthful players instead of aging veterans. Because the "Core Four" definitely isn't getting any younger, it was important for Memphis to sign some younger role players. Also, health was a huge issue for Memphis last season, and Mike Conley's shooting numbers were down. It's going to be important for Mike to stay on, spread the floor, and regain his status as a three point threat for Memphis to rise this season.
As has been noted before, the shots are definitely available for Memphis' wings. Now, they just need to cash in on them. And this offseason has left me hopeful that Memphis can improve its offense while still holding onto its renowned hard-nosed defense. It'll be interesting to see how these new players fit into the Grizzlies' system under their new coach. While the door is slowly closing on the "Grit N' Grind Era," perhaps these new players can usher in a new era, one in which Memphis' shooting conundrum is finally solved.