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Why the Grizzlies Need to Re-sign Mario Chalmers

We need Rio. He’s the backup point guard we deserve.

Memphis Grizzlies v Cleveland Cavaliers Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images

As the offseason inches excruciatingly closer and closer to the finish line, it’s natural to glance back at your respective favorite team’s roster to see the depth and mentally analyze how they stack up to the rest of the NBA. While looking at the Grizzlies depth chart, I saw something that was slightly troubling. Backing up our $153 million man Mike Conley is....the rookie Wade Baldwin IV? Untested second year man Andrew Harrison? If we were rebuilding that would be potentially good, but a good word for these Grizzlies would be “retooling”, and although I think Baldwin has the gifts to be the future, I don’t feel like we should be putting all of our eggs in some recently put together baskets.

After the young players, the list is pretty thin. I mean we can slot Troy Daniels in there, but he’s more of a shooter than a distributor, much less a pure point guard. And let’s not forget that Chandler Parsons can handle and distribute the ball pretty well. But let’s be honest, I really don’t think we want Parsons to be the only experienced NBA ball handler behind Conley, and if he’s handling the ball THAT much, then something has had to go wrong. After that I guess we have Vince Carter. I mean he DID play PG for the Grizzlies in these last playoffs right?

OK, so I hope you had a laugh with that joke, I know I did. In either case, I feel picking up an extra PG is in order.

Enter Mario Chalmers.

Chalmers came into Memphis last year from the Heat and played very well, blowing expectations out of the water early and proving to be more than a competent back up to Conley with the ability to play off the ball as a reliable shooter, a talent he learned playing alongside ball dominant LeBron James and Dwyane Wade in Miami. None of us Grizzly fans will soon forget his clutch 29 point performance against the Thunder last season or the key three pointers that he hit with the Grizzlies, leading him to be 5th on the team in made threes. (Quick side note: with all the threes he missed last season, can you believe that Matt Barnes led the Grizzlies in three point makes with 119? Weird.)

Let’s also not forget Rio averaged 10.8 points, 2.3 rebounds, and 3.8 assists with the Grizzlies in the 55 games he played last season until he tragically went down with his torn Achilles in March in a game against the Celtics. Shortly thereafter the Grizzlies had to waive him to make room on the roster for more players during that hellacious, injury-ridden second half of the season. Now, I feel the time is ripe to bring Super Mario back for another tour of duty with the Grizz. Let me give you a few reasons why.

First of all, Chalmers is proven. He has been a reliable PG since being drafted in 2008. He is known for his fearlessness and his tenacious nature. He attacks the basket, putting pressure on the defense while also possessing a very good outside shot. He’s an able distributor and has shown in his career that he’s just as capable playing off the ball as on it, just as comfortable starting as he is finding his place coming off the bench.

Secondly, at 30 he is right in the prime of his career (even coming off that Achilles injury) and is immediately on a timetable more in line with the rest of the Grizzlies themselves.

NBA: Phoenix Suns at Memphis Grizzlies
Super Mario could be due for a reunion with the Grizzlies
Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

Another thing to consider is that Chalmers is now back on the road to health and ready to get back on the court. Just 5 days ago he posted on Twitter that he is finally able to start working out again, and at this rate should be set by the time the season starts. And if the Achilles tear worries you, don’t fret. Several players have come back from this injury to eventually have productive seasons in the past few years, so it most definitely can be done. In addition, very little of Chalmers’ game is based off of his speed. He is a point guard with a very good change of pace and that should be something that will continue to be the case.

So we’ll see what will come of this in the coming months. Maybe the Grizzlies do decide to gauge whether a Chalmers reunion is in their best interests. Maybe Chalmers gets another opportunity with another NBA team; rumor has it that the Warriors and Wizards, among others, have their eyes on him. Or maybe the Grizzlies decide to develop their backup corps and roll with that. We’ll just have to find out.

Until then Grizz fans, keep grinding.

Follow @sbngrizzlies