The trade deadline has come and gone, and while some teams made move before 3:00 PM ET on Thursday, the Grizzlies were not one of those teams. Despite whispers of the Grizzlies trading Tony Allen for more scoring, the Grizzlies’ front office ultimately decided to keep the team they have and see if they can make a run with everybody getting healthy. I will argue that this decision by the Grizzlies was a good decision.
For one, the decision to not make any moves preserves their identity. Had the Grizzlies moved Tony Allen for Chase Budinger to increase scoring, that would be a move away from their identity as a defense-first team. Remember my article “It’s all about the 80s”? I sure hope you read it on here, and if you didn’t, I suggest you do! The thesis of that article is that the Grizzlies excel best when games are in the 80s, or rather when they keep their opponents scoring in the 80s or under, which is something that they frequently do. Any trade that moves the team away from that identity mid-season would be a mistake, and since no trade was available to enhance their defensive abilities, not making a trade was a good idea.
Secondly, with Dave Joerger as a new head coach, making a significant trade before the deadline would make his job harder and not easier. He’d have to figure out how to work the new players in, how to make them fit his system, etc. Unless there was some glaring flaw that had to be addressed, keeping the team as it is for the sake of making things easier for Dave Joerger makes sense.
Finally, this Grizzlies team has proven to be a competitive team as presently constructed. How quickly we forget that this team was in the Western Conference Finals a year ago. If this team just a year ago was able to make a deep run in the playoffs, why doubt their ability to do it again? This isn’t like the Grizzlies were a bad team last season. They were a really good team who got to the Final Four of the NBA! If this team was capable of reaching the conference finals last year, they should be capable of doing it again this year. Especially since they have improved their team thanks to the addition of Courtney Lee.
The bottom line is that the Grizzlies are one of the more dangerous teams in the Western Conference with the players that they have. Getting healthy is what this team needs more so than getting new pieces. When healthy, this team’s defense is good enough to beat any team in the NBA, especially in a 7 game series. Not making a move at the deadline shows that the Grizzlies’ front office wisely recognizes that what they have is good enough to make another deep post season run. A move at the deadline would have shown a lack of confidence in the team and the organization’s overall philosophy of defense being the way to win.