The Grizzlies are undoubtedly going to be the last team to conform to the fast-paced, position-less NBA of today, if it all. The front office is attempting to move forward in this way while also hanging on to what has made Memphis, Memphis.
There have been moments of watching this transformation happen and seeing the needs the current roster has had, that I caught myself saying things like James Posey would be a perfect player for this team.
Then it hit me. Build a roster for today’s NBA with Grizzlies of today, yesterday, and tomorrow.
The Grizzlies franchise, Vancouver and Memphis, has rostered a total of 218 players in it’s existence up until this offseason. Roster history doesn't included Jaren Jackson Jr., Jevon Carter, Omri Casspi, or Kyle Anderson because, well, they haven't played a minute for the team yet. But, we are going to include them in the draft pool.
To narrow it down, to be eligible for this “fantasy” roster, there are a few ground rules to lay down.
- Any player that has been PREVIOUSLY rostered by the franchise must have played a minimum of 82 games for the team (Sorry Iverson fans).
- Any player drafted by the Grizzlies franchise AND played for the team (wasn't traded on draft night) is eligible, even if under the 82 game rule.
- Any player rostered for more than two seasons, but under the 82 game rule may be eligible if injury was cause for low number of games played (Chandler Parsons).
- Each player considered will be considered based on their time with the franchise not their entire body of work (so no Kyle Lowry or Vince Carter).
This narrows the draft pool from 216 to about 80. This roster will consist of 16 players with the focus of putting together the best team to play in the 2018-19 NBA season.
PG: Mike Conley (2016-17)
This really is a no brainer. While Jason Williams or Mike Bibby could push for this spot, Conley is the franchise leader in steals (1067) and its not even close. J-Will was definitely a flashier player, but Conley is the most well rounded and consistent point guard in franchise history.
SG: Mike Miller (2006-07)
One of the trends in the NBA today is length on the wings. Mike Miller brings just that standing at 6’8 as a shooting guard. His 2006-07 season was a magical season in Memphis. He launched a career high 7.1 threes per game which fits perfectly in today’s NBA. His defensive plus/minus wasn't where you would want it to be, but it was his career high in offensive plus/minus at 3.7. Mike is in the lineup to let ‘em fly from deep and he did at a 42% clip during his time in Memphis.
SF: James Posey (2003-04)
James Posey is that one guy that we all look back on and think, “man, he would be a perfect fit for this Grizzlies team in today’s NBA.” Posey’s best season of his career was 2003-04 for Memphis when he averaged 13.7 points per game on 48% from the field and 39% from three. He also had his career high Box Plus/Minus of 4.6 and Value over Replacement of 4.0, bot of which were highs by a landslide.
PF: Rudy Gay (2010-11)
Rudy Gay at the “power forward” is what makes this lineup scary. Peak Rudy is going to give traditional lineups nightmares the entire night. Gay’s 2010-11 season was shortened due to a shoulder injury which was a travesty. Gay was on his was to the best season of his career to date and after. He showed significant improvement in 7 categories including a career high 39% from downtown. He tied his career high in steals while having his second best season blocking shots. A fully healthy 2010-11 Rudy Gay is a borderline All Star starting at the four spot in this lineup.
C: Marc Gasol (2016-17)
Three Time All Star Marc Gasol is just as much a no brainer for this lineup as Mike Conley. 2016-17 Marc Gasol was pinnacle Marc Gasol. Under David Fizdale, Gasol unleashed a very efficient three point shot that led to his highest season scoring average at 19.5 points per game. Due to the time spent on the perimeter, his rebound rate was the lowest of his career, but his assist rate was also at its highest. Gasol is one of the biggest pick-and-pop threats for a traditional center in the NBA. Don’t forget he anchors a traditionally stingy defense as the main communicator.