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Memphis Grizzlies Roster Rankings: The Top Five

Who are the best five players on the Grizzlies according to GBB?

NBA: Preseason-Orlando Magic at Memphis Grizzlies Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

OK, time for the Final Five top Memphis Grizzlies players (according to GBB writers) to shine. Brandon Conner, AKA BallFromGrace, had #’s 11-17. Our McCarty Maxwell wrote about #’s 6-10.

Who rounds out our list? Number five is a bit of a surprise...and if this holds, it’s going to be a LONG season.

5. Chandler Parsons

Average Ranking: 4.9

Highest Ranking: 3

Lowest Ranking: 11

NBA: Atlanta Hawks at Memphis Grizzlies Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

First things first, whoever on our staff rated Parsons #11 on this roster hates Chandler a pretty good bit. Not exactly fair, considering just how much his first season in Beale Street Blue was impacted by injury. It is widely believed (if Instagram is to be trusted) that Parsons is as healthy as he’s been in years and should be nicely positioned for a bounce-back campaign. The possibility of...dare we say, optimism...regarding Chandler is a welcome sight heading into camp next week.

But make no mistake, there are still plenty of questions. And let’s make one thing perfectly clear - if Chandler is only the 5th best player on this roster once the season is, say, hitting the dog days of January, then the Grizzlies are going to be a really bad basketball team. This team’s success continues to hinge on what Parsons can be. He needs to be the 3rd best guy on the Grizzlies to keep Memphis in the playoff picture.

Let’s hope whoever the heck put him at #11 is dead wrong, and Chandler rises up these rankings by the end of October.

4. Tyreke Evans

Average Ranking: 4.4

Highest Ranking: 3

Lowest Ranking: 5

NBA: Milwaukee Bucks at Sacramento Kings Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports

It’s somewhat perplexing that the Evans signing hasn’t made as much noise across NBA circles. It’s Tyreke returning to his college hometown of Memphis, on a show-me deal, looking to recapture what made him so successful early in his career. The GBB staff obviously has high hopes for Evans, considering that no one had him worse than 5th on our rankings. While it is widely assumed Evans will fill Zach Randolph’s sixth-man role, as long as he stays healthy he seems in line to see starter-type minutes and a relatively large role.

That is probably part of why he chose Memphis. It is his chance to shine. The Grizzlies needed an athletic wing who can play multiple spots on the perimeter and facilitate offense/create his own shot off the dribble. He comes in and is instantly a huge piece of the schemes of David Fizdale. If he thrives in this system, the Grizzlies are that much better and Evans gets a shot at a much larger pay day next summer.

It’s a real potential win-win.

3. JaMychal Green

Average Ranking: 3.6

Highest Ranking: 3

Lowest Ranking: 4

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

The third best player on the Grizzlies technically isn’t on the Grizzlies at the moment.

Let that sink in.

JaMychal Green is pretty vital to Memphis. If he doesn’t return (he almost certainly will), who starts at the four? Who defends the pick and roll and smaller bigs on the perimeter? Who helps space the floor and set screens while rolling to the basket? Who plays the modern power forward at a high level?

Jarell Martin? Be serious.

No, JaMychal is that important. Yes, JaMychal is very good at what he does. But his game is not designed to be “third best guy on the roster” good. He’s the glue guy, the piece that is a net positive because he does everything well, but nothing “great”. As stated above when discussing Chandler, if Green winds up being the third leading scorer or best player on this team Memphis has issues.

No offense to JaM. There’s just a reason no one offered him a big offer sheet beyond knowing Memphis would match to an extent. He’s good. He’s vital to Memphis. But he’s not that level of player. Hopefully Parsons is.

Repetitive? Get used to it. It’s Chandler’s world. Except for these next two guys...

2. Marc Gasol

Average Ranking: 1.9

Highest Ranking: 1

Lowest Ranking: 2

NBA: Playoffs-San Antonio Spurs at Memphis Grizzlies Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

A bit of a surprise, perhaps. It was Marc Gasol, after all, who made another All-Star Game. It is Marc who is widely considered by many now to be the greatest player in Grizzlies history. It isn’t like Marc played poorly last season, either - one could argue as he added range to his game that he had his best offensive season. He scored the ball well, he was clutch when needed, he led the team well on the court and was a mentor off of it.

So why does he get beat out by a guy who does not have the same accolades? A variety of reasons - the GBB staff probably is preparing for the inevitable beginning of Gasol’s decline, while also acknowledging that this process has kind of already begun, at least defensively. The eldest Grizzly player is now Marc and that probably catches up to him soon, at least compared to other stars on this roster. He is still a dominant player at times, and a blast to watch play, and extremely important to the success of this organization.

While all that is vital to Memphis, this isn’t his team.

It is this guy’s.

1. Mike Conley

Average Ranking: 1.1

Highest Ranking: 1

Lowest Ranking: 2

NBA: Playoffs-Memphis Grizzlies at San Antonio Spurs Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

Do the simple math, folks. A vast majority of GBBers put Conley as the absolute best the Grizzlies have to offer on their roster. And they are exactly right.

This dude signed the largest contract in NBA history (to that point) last summer and caught all sorts of crap from all sorts of people about how he wasn’t worth it. Instead of stepping back and savoring the massive amount of money he made, not getting better, he went on to have the best season of his career. There is no weakness in his game. He can defend. He can score. He can shoot the three. He can facilitate. He can handle. He is a leader.

He is worth every cent.

Mike Conley is at worst the 9th or 10th best point guard in what is probably the golden era of point guard play in the modern history of the NBA. At best, he is flirting with the top-5 (6 or 7) on a list that includes numerous future Hall of Famers. He remains underappreciated somehow even though more people than ever before, at least among NBA fans, know exactly who he is and what he is capable of.

He was able to go toe to toe with Kawhi Leonard and for stretches be the best player on the floor against the mighty San Antonio Spurs last spring in the NBA Playoffs. He took the reigns of this offense from David Fizdale and showed exactly what he is capable of. He is at the peak of his powers and knows just how much this team needs him to be “the man”.

What Captain Clutch, assuming good health, does for an encore is going to be one of the best parts of this coming season.

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