The Memphis Grizzlies have a very competitive team that almost knocked out the Oklahoma City Thunder in the first round of the playoffs, stretching them to 7 games. However, the Grizzlies do not have a team good enough to win a title or be a serious threat to win the West. While we can look at players and their individual contributions, I have decided to look at where the team stands in a variety of different statistical areas to give you a feel of where their strengths and weaknesses are in relation to other teams. I will first look at their strengths.
Where the Grizzlies are strong in relation to other teams is defense and interior scoring. They ranked 3rd this season in opponents points per game, 9th in opponent field goal percentage, 7th in field goal percentage, and 9th in offensive rebounding. What this means is that the Grizzlies have a championship caliber defense and a high quality interior with Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol. These are definite strong points that the team needs to continue to build upon.
As for where the Grizzlies are weak, they are weak in defensive rebounding, outside shooting, scoring, and free throw shooting. They ranked 21st in the NBA in defensive rebounds per game (19th in total rebounds per game), 19th in 3-point percentage, 27th in points per game, and 23rd in free throw percentage. This means that they clearly need to get some help scoring the basketball and finding more guys who can shoot. In addition, it does appear that the rebounding isn’t as sound as it could be, which means another big man could actually help out the team more than we think.
Ultimately, I think the Grizzlies need to target shooting and scoring in the draft, but they shouldn’t shy away from targeting another big man if they really like what they see. Numbers don’t lie and they reveal to us where teams are strong and where teams are weak. Clearly, the Grizzlies have work to do, and let’s hope that they improve the areas where they are weak while also finding ways to stay strong in areas where they are already finding success.
(Note: I gathered my statistical information from ESPN.com)