Last week, the Memphis Grizzlies released Andrew Harrison, which opened up a roster spot. So naturally what does every Grizzly fan and blogger do?
Put on their GM caps, channel their inner Danny Ainge, and give their fiery take on what they should do with the open roster spot. No worries, guys, I did it too.
Really though, the Memphis Grizzlies are going to fill in this spot somehow. There are so many different routes they can go down too. They could go get another big, or another guard. They could use it as a way to pull off a 2-for-1 trade. We don’t really know.
Let’s dive into the possibilities.
Do they REALLY need another big?
Fellow GBBer Greg Ratliff did a magnificent job outlining some potential backup 5’s for the Grizzlies, while also probably getting some hopes up in the process. That’s a nice idea and all, but times are changing, my friends. This isn’t your father’s NBA!
IT’S POSITIONLESS BASKETBALL. Who needs 4 centers on the roster in today’s NBA? The league is getting smaller and faster. There’s really no room for a big behemoth that can’t space the floor or switch in the pick-and-roll.
Really though, it’s easy to see the Grizzlies using this spot on a big. JaMychal Green is probably out for another month, and it’s tough to justify Ivan Rabb as the third big man when games become more significant.
However, I’m in a different boat.
For starters, the Grizzlies are statistically better with one pure big man in the lineup, as only 3 of their 13 lineups with a positive net rating feature two pure big man.
Secondly, Marc Gasol is averaging 32.4 minutes this season, and any remaining minutes at the 5 belong to Jaren Jackson — the prototype of the modern-day 5.
Unless Marc Gasol or Jaren Jackson, God forbid, go down with an injury, or they trade JaMychal Green for more perimeter depth, the Grizzlies should hold off on adding another center.
Who’s even on the market?
With the roster spot open, people are looking for an immediate solution, because we want everything NOW. Granted, you can find something on the market right now, but there’s nothing entirely worth it.
If the Grizzlies insist on getting a big man right now, the market is quite dry. Memphis native Tarik Black would be a good player to shore up their rebounding issues, but he isn’t much better than Ivan Rabb. Would you be interested in Cole Aldrich or Alexis Ajinca? Nope, didn’t think so. The Grizzlies could also go after Joakim Noah, and it looks like they’ve been testing the waters with that idea.
So yeah, let’s not look at any big men right now.
If the Grizzlies wanted to shore up their perimeter depth, Corey Brewer seems like the typical Memphis signing. He’s a mediocre veteran that plays good defense but can’t shoot to save his life. Shabazz Muhammad is a prime Chris Wallace signing, since he’s a non-shooting wing that peaked in high school.
A more ideal scenario is Joe Johnson, as he’s a veteran that’s a multi-dimensional scorer and can play positions 2-4. If they wanted to bolster their lineup with some championship pedigree, look no further than...
Nick Young can light it up from downtown, as he’s shot 37.6% from downtown for his career. He’s also a season removed from shooting a blistering 40.4% from 3 on 7 attempts per game. The Grizzlies don’t have anybody, aside from Marc and Mike, that can flip a game with their scoring, and Nick Young could fill that need.
Getting Creative With It
The Memphis Grizzlies could always get creative with the roster spot and pull a 2-for-1 or 3-for-2 trade.
Any scenario here would more than likely involve JaMychal Green or Garrett Temple, two expiring $8M contracts. If the Grizzlies had any picks in the treasure chest of assets, Chandler Parsons would be another candidate here as well.
Any trade here though would be quite displeasing, as the talent they would receive in return wouldn’t be nearly as good as Green or Temple. To put into perspective, when the Grizzlies dealt Courtney Lee two years ago, they received PJ Hairston and Chris “Birdman” Anderson.
It’s not a likely scenario, as the Grizzlies recognize both Green and Temple as valuable pieces to their playoff puzzle — or as trade assets in a 2-for-1 deal for a bigger name.
The most ideal, and likely, scenario for the Memphis Grizzlies’ 15th roster spot is to just hold out.
If the Memphis Grizzlies are fighting for playoff position, it could be used as a destination for those in the buyout market. Anyone player available there could bolster the Grizzlies’ depth, which is valuable in the brutal Western Conference.
If the Grizzlies’ season falls apart, the open roster spot could be used as a way to find young talent in the form of 10-day contracts. It’s certainly not ideal, as we don’t want to undergo another tanking season. If this happened though, it’d make more sense to use the open roster spot to convert Yuta Watanabe’s two-way contract.
The Memphis Grizzlies are going to fill that roster spot somehow, it’s just inevitable. It’s going to cause much strife and debate regardless.
They should use it on another big man. They need to add more shooting. They should sign Joakim Noah. OH, that guy just got released; the Grizzlies should sign him! Tony Allen is still a free agent! Bring Z-BO HOME!!!
However, the best course of action is to wait it out. For one, they have to see how the season is going for them. If they’re fighting for a playoff spot, they obviously should use it on veteran depth. If not, they need to see if they can find any diamonds in the rough.
Also, they must have these questions answered before they make any sort of move. Are the Grizzlies fine with Marc Gasol, Jaren Jackson Jr., and JaMychal Green as the team’s lone bigs? Do they really have enough shooting? Is there anyone on the market that can create their own shot?
Regardless, the “15th roster spot” debate will be a fun one on Grizz Twitter until it’s finally resolved.
Stats found on basketball-reference, and free agents found on RealGM.