Site Manager’s Note- The roundtable is back! The Memphis Grizzlies have had some highs (Mike Conley, Marc Gasol, Zach Randolph) and lows (Chandler Parsons) this past week since we returned from the All-Star break. To tackle some of the pressing questions facing Grizz Nation as Memphis prepares for a Texas back-to-back this weekend in Houston and Dallas, I have assembled four great GBB staffers.
This week’s roundtable includes GBB Game Coverage Editor Grace Baker, Video Content Producer Mark King, Multimedia Editor Matt Preston, and Game Coverage Writer Ross Jarrar.
1. How would you handle the rest of Chandler Parsons' 2016-2017 season?
GRACE BAKER (@GraceBaker901) - I would continue to play Chandler Parsons with limited minutes, similar to what Coach Fizdale is doing already. I say that because I’d rather warm Parsons up for the playoffs, as oppoosed benching him now and just waiting to play him in the postseason. Parsons is definitely having streaky performances, but benching him wouldn't solve the problem. You’d be expecting him to come into the playoffs and make an impact without continued experience on the court alongside Conley and Gasol. As long as Parsons is healthy enough, he should be playing limited minutes for the final stretch of the season.
MARK KING (@king_producer) - I would continue to play Parsons on a minutes “restriction”, but I think bringing him off the bench would be a better long term solution. This would allow the Grizzlies’ starting unit to be a little bit more stable, and the starters know exactly how long they are going to play and who they are going to play with. Benching Parsons for the season just isn't going to happen, for the simple fact that the front office isn't going to shut down a max player unless there’s something that is preventing him playing. If they do shut him down for the rest of the season, Grizzlies fans have very good reason to start panicking.
MATT PRESTON (@grizzlam) - It depends on how the Grizzlies evaluate Parsons' health. If they believe Parsons can get his legs and make shots in time for the playoffs, I'd stay the course. If we know he won't be healthy enough to hit those shots until next season, bench him.
ROSS JARRAR (@asaprockytop) - I would bench Parsons for James Ennis III until Parsons can be a more efficient shooter. Just because Parsons has a bigger contract doesn’t mean he should be playing more than more productive players.
I like benching Parsons for a number of reasons. First, Ennis has been markedly better than Parsons this year. Secondly, it gives Parsons a chance to play against second units and build his confidence. Chandler Parsons isn’t going to regain his shot in one day; it’s going to be a gradual process. He probably won’t be the same player this year that the Grizzlies were expecting when they gave him the max over the summer. For 2017-18, Parsons should be the starting SF going forward, but for the rest of this season, he’d be best in a complementary role until he can get back to his usual self.
2. How many of the Grizzlies upcoming "key" free agents do you see returning next season? (Tony Allen/Zach Randolph/JaMychal Green/Vince Carter)
BAKER- Assuming Carter plays next season, I could easily see him returning along with Tony Allen and Zach Randolph, who seem like they would love to play out the rest of their careers here, even if that meant a pay cut in the long run. JaMychal Green might be hard for the Grizzlies to keep after his breakout season he's had. It's definitely possible, but I say the Grizzlies don't sign him this summer, in the end.
KING- This depends on what happens with Green in the offseason, and someone is going to offer him $15 million per year to come and play for their team. Green does too many things well in the NBA for other teams not to notice. I would expect the Grizzlies to match that offer sheet for Green. I expect Randolph to be back in some capacity, but I don't see Tony Allen and Vince Carter returning next year.
PRESTON- I think we'll keep everyone except potentially Allen and Green. I wouldn't be surprised to see Green stay and Allen go. Tony's had a nice uptick in scoring this season, and remains an elite perimeter defender. But the Grizzlies may take advantage of his free agency and build towards the future, or address a more urgent offensive need.
JARRAR- I see Vince Carter retiring at the end of the season. Of the three remaining free agents, I see Tony Allen and JaMychal Green returning to the Grizzlies next season. JaMychal Green has shown that he can capably play and start in the NBA this season. As gracefully as Z-Bo as aged in the past few years, he won’t be able to sustain it for much longer and JaM is 9 years younger than Zach. Green is a worthy replacement, so the Grizzlies may be more inclined to let Randolph walk. Meanwhile, Tony Allen is just 6 months younger than Zach Randolph, but the Grizzlies might not have a capable replacement for him on the roster. The Grizzlies should bring back Tony Allen until they’ve proven they can groom someone to eventually take his place.
3. Which reserve wing should be the "odd man out" of the rotation- Ennis, Daniels, or Carter? (VIDEO ROUNDTABLE QUESTION)
4. Where does Mike Conley rank on your list of top NBA point guards after the season he is having?
BAKER- Mike Conley definitely ranks among the top five point guards in the league this season, behind players like Russell Westbrook and Stephen Curry, obviously. He should've made the All-Star game this year, no question, but the guard position in the Western Conference is so stacked right now. Conley is having a phenomenal season, and he deserves more national recognition for it.
KING- Mike Conley is a great point guard and there is not doubt about it, but I would say he is easily a top 15 point guard in the NBA, but for me he would be 9 or 10 of the top ten point guards right now. The problem that Mike faces is that this is a time in the NBA when there are just so many good point guards, its the same reason he never makes an All-Star team. Its not because he isn’t a good point guard, its just that are so many other good ones.
PRESTON- Conley's the hottest true point guard in the West. Steph has cooled off from his nuclear season last year and CP3 has been hurt. Russell and James Harden have MVP cases, but I'd say Conley does a better job at being a floor general while still scoring prolifically. Harden and Westbrook fuel their offenses, but Conley drives his--he can shift speed at a moment's notice and create shots for himself without imposing his identity over the other stellar players on the court (unless the clock dwindles and he has to). Conley enhances the overall versatility of our offense and knows when to take over.
JARRAR- Mike Conley is firmly a top-10 point guard to me. I can’t give a specific number because my mental rankings change every couple of weeks, but Russell Westbrook, James Harden, Steph Curry, and Chris Paul are just 4 and they’re all clear Hall-of-Famers. A tier below them are All-Stars Kyrie Irving, Kyle Lowry, John Wall, and Damian Lillard. Mike Conley is just a notch below that tier. The absurd part about this league is that Mike Conley can be good enough to warrant a $150 million extension while only being, at best, the 7th-8th best at his position.