The Grizzlies made two additions to their backcourt on Wednesday. Most notably, they signed Mike Miller following his amnesty release last week from the Miami Heat. They also claimed Josh Akognon, formerly of the Dallas Mavericks, off waivers on Wednesday.
Just confirmed: Mike Miller has indeed notified Grizzlies that he’s Memphis-bound — Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) July 24, 2013
Memphis Grizzlies, I’m told, have claimed Josh Akognon off waivers. After strong summer league for Dallas, Akognon waived in cap crunch — Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) July 24, 2013
Miller is the big-name addition here. He had been pursued by a few other teams, including the Oklahoma City Thunder, but chose to return to Memphis after spending five and a half seasons with the team earlier in his career. I’ve already covered what the Miller signing might mean in more depth, but the gist of it is that he fulfills the Grizzlies’ need for a three-point shooter after they had missed out on such names as Anthony Morrow and Kyle Korver.
With Miller, the injury concerns run wild. However, if he’s healthy, he could start at small forward or, perhaps more realistically, come off of the bench at both wing positions as a three-point specialist. Either way, it’s very likely he plays significantly more than the 15.3 minutes per game than he did last season.
The other addition, Josh Akognon, played in just three games with the Mavericks last season and logged only nine minutes and five points in total. However, he did play with the Mavs’ Las Vegas Summer League team, leading the team in scoring with 17.5 points per game on 41.8% shooting from the field and 39.1% from three.
27 years old, Akognon went undrafted in 2009 and played overseas with BC Kalev/Cramo, the Dongguan Leopards, and the Liaoning Dinosaurs before joining up with the Mavs last season. He profiles as an undersized gunner (think a 5’11″ Jerryd Bayless), though with all of the unknowns surrounding him, he could be a diamond in the rough if other guards (Tony Wroten, Bayless himself) fail to pan out for Memphis.
With these two additions, the Grizzlies now have the full 15 players on their roster. This is interesting because the team recently sent a 2016 second-rounder to Dallas for the draft rights to guard Nick Calathes, who was picked with the 45th overall selection back in 2009. Calathes’ fit in Memphis is up in the air with Akognon on board, but if they wish to buy him out of his contract with Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar, they’d have to waive someone from their 15 man roster.
At any rate, the Grizzlies suddenly have a couple more shooters on their team, which is very reassuring. Miller and Quincy Pondexter strike as two reliable spot-up shooters that can space the floor for Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol nicely, and as secondary shooters, Mike Conley and Jerryd Bayless look much more encouraging. Akognon will most likely ride the bench to start, but he’s another option the Grizzlies can go to.