One of the big story lines for Grizzlies fans to follow this season will be Marc Gasol and Mike Conley becoming one of the most decorated duos in NBA history. However, as we all know, the buzz and anticipation this offseason has come from the new faces on the roster. Memphis added veterans Kyle Anderson, Omri Casspi, Garrett Temple, and Shelvin Mack this offseason. They will join current Grizzlies veterans Chandler Parsons and JaMychal Green to from a solid and reliable rotation to support Conley and Gasol. While helping the Grizzlies improve, each of these veterans can achieve personal milestones this season.
Back on July 1st, the Grizzlies signed Omri Casspi for the veteran’s minimum. The low cost, along with his expected role as a key reserve, seemed to make this a smart addition. On July 7th, the main move of the Grizzlies offseason came in the signing of Kyle Anderson to a 4 year, 37.2-million-dollar deal. Many viewed this as a shrewd move that would make the Grizzlies more efficient. As a result, the Grizzlies added two highly intelligent and effective pieces to improve their playoff chances. For Casspi and Anderson personally, coming to the Grizzlies provides ample opportunity to have memorable seasons for their careers.
Casspi can easily become one of the most accomplished foreign born players in NBA history this season. If Casspi were to score 84 points and make 22 threes this season, he will become the 21st foreign born player in NBA history to eclipse 4,500 points, 500 threes, 500 assists, and 2,000 rebounds in a career. Of those 21 players, Casspi has the 8th best effective field goal percentage. This provides proof that Casspi can be the intelligent, clutch veteran presence off the bench a Grizzlies’ playoff run desperately needs.
For Kyle Anderson, the move to the Grizzlies completes the transition for him from a key reserve to a starter. As he saw his role expand over his four years as a Spur, Anderson averaged 9.8 points, 1.0 blocks, 1.9 steals, 3.5 assists and 7.0 rebounds per 36 minutes. The significance of this statistic is it shows what a bench player might do as a starter, which Anderson now is. If Anderson were to average 10 points, 1.5 steals, 3.5 assists, 7 rebounds, and 1 block per game, a near reflection of his 36 min average above, it would be quite rare for a man his size. For players standing 6 foot 9 or taller, the only active players to average those numbers for a season are Paul George, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Josh Smith, DeMarcus Cousins, and Ben Simmons. This proves just how valuable Anderson’s versatility can be anywhere in the lineup, and how he can significantly help the Grizzlies in an expanded role.
While Anderson could continue to be the same highly valuable asset with extended playing time, he could follow the path many others have taken and become a higher volume scorer. While unlikely, if Anderson could average 15.4 points per game, he will score more points this year than the 1,255 in his career. Anderson will most likely surpass last year’s total points scored of 585. Along with Anderson, if Garrett Temple can score 583 points and if Shelvin Mack gets 545 points, they will all pass their career highs for points in a season.
This is important to monitor because the clear source of scoring behind Gasol and Conley is still a big question mark for Memphis. Recent seasons have shown these three players have become better scorers. Besides an injury to a starter, these three players reaching or surpassing their career highs in points can result in unexpected wins for the Grizzlies.
Beyond the new additions, continued contributions from roster mainstays such as JaMychal Green will also offer a significant boost to the Grizzlies playoff chances. Green has certainly proven his worth while moving into a starter role over the past two seasons. If he can produce at last years rates over a full season, Green should become just the 12th Grizzly in franchise history with 2,500 points and 2,000 rebounds. He also could find his way into the top ten in career rebounds for the franchise. This will also, by far, make Green the most decorated undrafted Grizzly in franchise history. For a franchise notorious for failing in the draft, Green’s career development could not have come at a better time.
On the complete opposite end of the value spectrum, the other mainstay who could very easily provide the biggest contribution of his Grizzlies career is Chandler Parsons. Obviously, the biggest stat to watch for Parsons is in the form of minutes played. For the past two years, with his limited production, Parsons has cost the Grizzlies nearly $34,500 per minute played and $91,550 per point scored. You don’t need a finance degree to understand those numbers are not encouraging. If Parsons can remain healthy and play around 20+ minutes a night, with 1,317 minutes, he will surpass his minutes total of the previous two years.
If healthy, a reasonable expectation from Parsons could be what Mike Miller provided the Grizzlies in his second tour with the team. Parsons could easily become just the third Florida Gator in NBA History with 5,500 points, 2,000 rebounds, 1,000 assists, and 750 threes, joining Miller and Vernon Maxwell.
As can be seen, nearly every Grizzlies veteran has the chance to make this season historic in one way or another. Realistically, not all of these accomplishments are going to be met. However, the potential for these statistical milestones do show that the Grizzlies have more versatility and quality depth than they have had in a while.
For years, Memphis’s weakness the lack of a quality bench and limited personnel adaptability. The creativity for different lineups this roster possesses is a welcome site. Their personal accomplishments will add another story line for fans to certainly enjoy this season. Their veteran leadership and intelligent play should provide the Grizzlies a chance to stay competitive in every game they play.
Stats provided by basketball-reference.