With the 2016-2017 NBA season over, it’s time for the Memphis Grizzlies to look toward the future. With the additions of Ivan Rabb and Dillon Brooks in the NBA Draft and Zach Randolph and Tony Allen both being unrestricted free agents, it’s time for the youth movement in Memphis to begin.
The Grizzlies finished the 2016-17 season with a 43-39 record, best for seventh in the Western Conference. Led by the second-highest paid player in the league, Memphis fell to the San Antonio Spurs in the first round of the NBA Playoffs in six games. The team showed potential to be a better team throughout the season, and, with some addition of youth to their roster, the Grizzlies could achieve a higher seed in next year’s playoffs.
With the 35th selection in the NBA Draft, the Grizzlies took Ivan Rabb out of the University of California. Rabb showed the potential to be a great two-way player in the league and was projected to be a first round pick before falling to the Grizzlies at 35.
With the 45th selection in the NBA Draft, Memphis took Dillon Brooks, a talented small forward out of the University of Oregon. With the Grizzlies unable to find a consistent small forward over the past couple of seasons, Brooks has a sure-fire chance to not just make the roster but to make an impact at the next level.
The combination of the two shows promise for the Grizzlies future. With Zach Randolph approaching 36 years old and Tony Allen at age 35, it’s time the two sides went their separate ways.
Randolph posted his third-worst true shooting percentage of his career last season, while Allen posted a 2.4 defensive box plus/minus, not even close to his career-best of 3.7. Both players have showed signs of regression as they get up there in age, so it’s time to let someone else deal with that problem.
Without re-signing Randolph or Allen, the team would have enough money to sign a new player to a mid level exception contract for next season. A player like Kyle Korver could be a perfect fit for the Grizzlies under their current cap room situation and needs. Korver is one of the best shooters in the NBA and will provide the team with a veteran presence in the locker room at a cheap price.
So, in summary, the Grizzlies need to let Randolph and Allen walk and get deals elsewhere, while signing a great shooter to a mid level exception deal. The trend towards the youth movement needs to be now in Memphis.
Stats provided by basketball-reference.com