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Solving the Memphis Grizzlies’ Wing Depth

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Wing Guru’s wings > the Grizzlies’ wings. Change my view.

NBA: Los Angeles Lakers at Memphis Grizzlies Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

As a team, the Memphis Grizzlies have everything you could ask for.

They have:

  • An elite point guard capable of going off for 30 points on any given night.
  • An elite, two-way big man you can run an offense through and build a defender around.
  • A 19-year old rookie that’s way ahead of schedule and that’s already being dubbed as potentially the best prospect in the past 5 years.
  • A two-way combo forward with a unique offensive skillset and All-Defensive team potential.
  • A top-5 defense
  • Great position in the wild Western Conference.

There’s just something missing though, just one thing that can catapult the Grizzlies into “home-court advantage” territory. If there’s one thing the Grizzlies need to fix, it’s their wing depth issue.

Don’t get me wrong, the Grizzlies’ have decent-to-good wings, but there are some flaws.

We know the deal with Chandler Parsons — it’d be quite surprising if he suits up in a Grizzlies uniform again. Kyle Anderson is an outstanding defender, but until the Grizzlies figure out how to utilize his captivating offensive skillset, he’s sort of a minus offensively. Garrett Temple has been a godsend thus far, considering they got him for the team’s two worst players, but his numbers suggest he’s coming back down to earth. Omri Casspi is more of a 4 than a 3.

MarShon Brooks is wildly inconsistent, and even when he’s getting buckets, it’s not for 20-25 points — it’s for 11-12. Dillon Brooks has been hurt, and his absence highlights this need significantly, but we still need to see if his production translates to winning. Wayne Selden has his moments, as he showed last game. He just needs to be consistent. Here’s a game log from last season:

Wayne Selden’s inconsistent scoring
basketball-reference.com

Whenever Mike Conley and/or Marc Gasol are off, the Grizzlies fall apart. Part of the reason for that is, they don’t have anybody on the wing that could really lift the burden and help them out.

Now, it’s impossible for them to get another All-Star — sorry, Bradley Beal, and even Otto Porter, are both out of the picture. As much as I want it to happen, not even Swaggy P is enough to bolster this wing depth. However, they can at least add another wing through a trade or potential buyout.

The pipe dream for many Grizz fans out there is to swindle a way to get either Tim Hardaway Jr. or Evan Fournier. Either player would require a trade package revolving around Garrett Temple and JaMychal Green. Both of these players are 15-20 PPG scorers that are capable of creating their own offense and shooting the 3-ball. They’re essentially the perfect complimentary piece next to the Grizzlies’ “Big 3” of Conley, Gasol, and Jackson.

Hardaway is the more realistic option between the two players, especially if the Knicks have high aspirations for both the lottery and the Kevin Durant sweepstakes — timeout: imagine Porzingis, Durant, and Williamson ... holy $#!+ ... time back in. Both Green and Temple are expiring contracts, and Fizdale would welcome their leadership in the young locker room. Fiz will also be happy to get his Draymond Green back!

Fournier probably isn’t a possible trade target. The Orlando Magic are currently 8th in the Eastern Conference, and an offseason shakeup in the front office and coaching staff suggests that they’re done tanking.

Unless the Grizzlies can nab one of these two guys, I wouldn’t pull the trigger on a Temple/Green package. The Grizzlies need to build wing depth, but parting ways with Temple at the deadline would actually hurt it — again, unless it’s for Hardaway or Fournier. Kent Bazemore has been seen as an intriguing trade option for Memphis, but I wouldn’t sacrifice both JaMychal Green AND Garrett Temple for him.

With the arrival of Joakim Noah, and the more natural fit at the 4 for Anderson and Casspi, you could see Green on the move at the trade deadline — especially if it’s hard to see him coming back this summer. I don’t know what his trade value is as a standalone piece, you’d probably have to add in a guy like Selden and a second-round pick or two to get a decent return.

They should definitely keep an eye on the trade and/or buyout market. If their respective teams decide to buy them out, the return of Courtney Lee or DeMarre Carroll would be huge for this team’s wing depth. Orlando’s season could very well fall apart — remember last year? In the event that Fournier’s asking price is too high, they could test the waters on Terrence Ross or Jonathan Simmons. If the Bulls decide to dangle Justin Holiday for some extra assets (i.e., Selden, Rabb, and a second-round pick?), the Grizzlies should definitely pounce on that opportunity.

They could even target a bigger combo guard, which could unlock 3-PG lineups. If Cleveland doesn't see a future with Jordan Clarkson, and wants to open up cap space, the Grizzlies should inquire about a trade package — a man can dream. If the Hawks buy out Jeremy Lin, why not? I’m going to stop before I get ahead of myself.

We can go all day putting on our GM hats and giving out hypotheticals. The bottom line is, the Grizzlies need to bolster its wing depth to separate itself in the Western Conference. They have just about everything you could ask for: two All-Stars, a rookie unicorn, an All-Defensive caliber player, and an excellent defense. The one real flaw with this team is the lack of strong wing depth.

If the Grizzlies could add one more quality wing next to a trio of Anderson, Temple and Dillon Brooks, you could see Memphis make some noice in the Western Conference.