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Parsons Post-Mortem: Is a Grizzlies playoff run plausible?

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In the wake of Chandler’s likely departure for the year from the lineup, can Memphis make believers out of the NBA?

NBA: Memphis Grizzlies at Chicago Bulls David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

Worried about the Grizzlies future with Chandler Parsons injured yet again?

Same here, but in the here and now there are still games to be played for Memphis this season, and they’re in a playoff race. What should be expected of the Grizzlies this postseason?

Myself and GBB Senior Features Writer Matt Hrdlicka talk that and more in Part II of Parsons Post-Mortem. If you missed part I, read that here.

Joe Mullinax, Site Manager (@JoeMullinax)- In the here and now, the Grizzlies look to be reliant on Vince Carter, which I had been hopeful they would do when Parsons was still playing. Vince alongside Tony works as well, and Carter is Parsons-lite when it comes to skill set when healthy. Carter can create off the pick and roll, Carter can shoot the three, and Carter can facilitate offense when called upon. He also knows how to play with just about every style of player after playing in the league for 200 years now and has easily played his best season with the Grizzlies to this point this season.

Troy Daniels is not as good as his myth is to Grizzlies fans. James Ennis is a solid 9th or so man, but beyond that he is out of his role. Can Carter stay productive throughout the rest of this season? I think he can, and help Memphis at least be competitive in the playoffs, but he has to be managed pretty well minutes wise or else he will burn out quickly under the weight of a larger role.

Senior Features Writer Matt Hrdlicka (@theRealHrdlicka)- Okay, I'm not sure if I'm disagreeing with you, but Memphis' wing rotation is pretty bare to me. Vince Carter is their best wing, and it's not close. VINCE CARTER. Can we talk about how amazing Vince has been (this is a rhetorical question because you already talked about how amazing Vince is and anybody that disputes this is dumb). Even including Vince, Memphis' wings fall into the "he's fine" category.

Here's a not-so-fun game. How many wings on each of the teams the Grizzlies are chasing are better than the BEST Grizzlies wing? Utah has at least two. Houston has at least three, maybe four if you count Pat Bev as a shooting guard. The Clippers only have one, Redick, but flip it around and ask yourself how many minutes Wes Johnson would play on this team.

James Ennis is a fine 3rd wing. Troy Daniels is nice when he's hitting shots, useless when not. That might be good enough to start on this team. I feel like I'm being super-pessimistic.

Who would you start if the playoffs started tomorrow? How many total guys would get minutes?

NBA: Memphis Grizzlies at Denver Nuggets Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Mullinax- We're in agreement. Vince is awesome. Vince is also 40, and that weighs heavily on his "awesome" ranking. Vince Carter's game score for the Bucks game according to basketball-reference was a 24.9. He hasn't posted a game score over 20 since 2013. He can't be expected to perform at that high of a level at this stage of his career consistently. The rest of the wings make me pretty nervous.

If we're talking playoff rotation, I think it is at eight, maybe nine. Conley/Allen/Carter/Green/Gasol/Randolph are locks. From there, you'd imagine Andrew Harrison or Toney Douglas (hopefully Harrison), James Ennis or Troy Daniels (hopefully Ennis), and Brandan Wright are in the mix. Daniels will probably see some run when the offense gets stagnant- as it surely will- and Omri Casspi could maybe fill Toney Douglas' roster spot, which would be awesome and would throw this off entirely.

But I would start Conley/Allen/Carter/Green/Gasol, play Randolph a good bit in that Core Four and Carter lineup that doesn't need to necessarily need to start, run Wright out there for 12-14 minutes of rim running, and see who is playing best among Harrison, Ennis, and Daniels from there.

What about you?

Hrdlicka- I'd probably start Conley/Daniels/Allen/Green/Gasol and would have a very quick hook on Daniels for Carter. I just want to make sure Carter is on the court any time Conley or Gasol is off the court, which means keeping him on the bench.

I'm playing Ennis and ZBo. Wright probably gets spot minutes and that is it. Game 1 of a series, Im just trying to win without a backup point guard. If it doesnt work, then I'll give Harrison a try.

Mullinax- I see the logic of Carter off the bench. I would just ensure that Gasol or Conley is constantly on the floor, which in the playoffs shouldn't be as hard to do. 36-40 minutes a night is easy to expect for them both. And yeah, having Harrison out would be the preference.

Daniels is just so bad defensively. No doubt he's the closest thing you have to fast offense, though.

These names further serve to depress me about the Grizzlies prospects in a postseason series. We had 240 folks vote in our GBBLive Question of the Day poll this week and 59% of those who voted honestly think that regardless of 6 or 7 seed, Memphis can win in the first round without Parsons.

I just think that's such a stretch. Yeah we are a fan blog, and yeah fans should hope to win...but with the hope of Parsons officially put to rest, I don't see a playoff series win happening. Maybe you push Houston to 6 or 7, but outside of that? It will be almost as bad as last season.

That feels really negative. Am I being too negative?

NBA: Memphis Grizzlies at Houston Rockets Erik Williams-USA TODAY Sports

Hrdlicka- I'm a Houston skeptic (a little less so now after they added Lou Williams). People keep saying that Houston is a bad match-up for Memphis, but the inverse is true too. They have nobody to guard Gasol. Patrick Beverley can do a job on Conley, but he isn't the overwhelming physical defender that really hurts Conley (like Danny Green, Russell Westbrook, Klay Thompson).

On the other end, we can throw Tony Allen on Harden, and if you've noticed how I've avoided mentioning Tony yet, I'll just say that Houston is the best case scenario for the Grindfather.

I'm not sure the lack of a backup point guard hurts you in a Houston series either. Basically, you know you are throwing the ball to Z-Bo, and praying he can kill Ryan Anderson and Sam Dekker (quietly really integral to the Rockets' success this year) enough to weather the threes on the other end. If you lose the non-Conley minutes by just a little - maybe catch the odd Daniels/Carter threes to keep you in it - then you have a good shot at the game.

Sure, Memphis is an underdog, but I'd wager on them as an underdog getting odds to win the series.

I have a similar feeling about the (theoretically Durant-less) Warriors or the Spurs. I think the Grizzlies have a puncher's chance against all these teams, even with all their flaws, simply because when Gasol shoots threes and Tony Allen is locked in this team can beat anybody in a single game.

Mullinax- A locked in Tony Allen is a monster. That would be cool to see one last time.

I am not sure how I am supposed to feel about being the pessimist now. Lots of smart folks like yourself have more faith in them than I do, at least in a playoff series. I do think they will play better to close the season because replacing Parsons with a fully functioning basketball player is an upgrade.

But they had to try with him. And now, like you said, they can set themselves up to have a punchers chance. Which is the best we can ask for with such a large part of the cap on the bench due to injury.

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