Depth Chart: Grizzlies’ Current Options at Shooting Guard


Jan 11, 2015; Memphis, TN, USA; Memphis Grizzlies forward Tony Allen (9) and Memphis Grizzlies guard Courtney Lee (5) react to a call during the game against the Phoenix Suns at FedExForum. Memphis Grizzlies beat Phoenix Suns 122 – 110. Mandatory Credit: Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

The Memphis Grizzlies look to be one of the Western Conference’s deepest teams in 2015-16, so how does the shooting guard position look to add to their depth?

The Memphis Grizzlies are expected to have a team with more depth than they saw this past season (2014-15) after making solid draft selections along with trades and Free-Agency acquisitions.

Beale Street Bears recently wrote about the Grizzlies’ current depth chart at all five positions. At the moment, Memphis has 16 players on their roster with 15 of them being signed to a contract. Then you must account for the newest addition to their training camp roster.

[See: Memphis Grizzlies’ Current Depth Chart at All Positions“]

When analyzing the shooting guard position, the Grizz have a couple players who typically make major contributions on a nightly basis. They even have an ongoing project that they are attempting to work into the rotation, but may not happen until on down the road beyond 2015-16.

Allow us to examine.

Dec 13, 2014; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Memphis Grizzlies guard Tony Allen (9) reacts after a play against the Philadelphia 76ers during the second half at Wells Fargo Center. The Grizzlies defeated the 76ers 120-115. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Primary Shooting Guard

Tony Allen–the Grindfather–is a true professional. He will start or come off the bench in any situation or circumstance. He started in 41 of 63 games played in the 2014-15 season. His defense is world class–first class, actually. There is no doubt the Grizzlies need him on the floor late in games in order to seal the victory.

TA will keep gritting and grinding next season–it is a given. The only question is “should he start?”

It really depends solely on nightly matchups–both individually and as a whole team.

Is there an elite scorer or two on the opposing team? Does Memphis need lockdown defensive tenacity? The Grindfather is your guy for the job. While he did provide 8.6 points per game last season, Allen should not be depended upon for offense. That is not why he is getting paid the big bucks.

First-Team defense. First-Team Tony Allen. First-Team Grindfather. He is the passion of the Memphis Grizzlies and his defense will generate offense from his teammates.

Look for TA to be the starting shooting guard once the upcoming season opens.

Secondary Shooting Guard

Courtney Lee was extremely efficient and consistent in 2014-15–at least for the first half of the season.

Can he continue to improve upon his 40.2% accuracy from three-point land? He owns an NBA career average of 38.5% shooting from beyond the arc, so as long as C-Lee remains consistent, all will be well in M-Town.

May 11, 2015; Memphis, TN, USA; Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry (30) guards Memphis Grizzlies guard Courtney Lee (5) in game four of the second round of the NBA Playoffs at FedExForum. Golden State Warriors beat Memphis Grizzlies 101-84. Mandatory Credit: Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

The only problem with Lee is that he is not always aggressive in finding his offense. He can be a scoring machine when unleashed, but he oftentimes defers to his quality teammates. He took just eight shots per game this past season and it may be beneficial for the Grizzlies to look to find C-Lee more shot attempts in order for their offense to become more reliable.

Consistency and efficiency is what will give Courtney Lee a great deal of minutes in 2015-16. For a team that desperately needs shooting and scoring, the more he can provide and contribute, the better the Grizzlies’ chances will be once playoff time arrives.

Shoot the three, Lee, shoot the three!

Playing Big in Small Gaps

Being as third-string option Jordan Adams still needs time to develop, he may very well not break the rotation in the upcoming season. While he needs real NBA playing time to grow, that opportunity may not present itself anytime soon.

If the Grizzlies need to look for experienced help at the shooting guard position, they already have it. The only question is if they can find enough scoring from these additional options.

January 15, 2014; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Clippers small forward Matt Barnes (22) shoots against the defense of Dallas Mavericks shooting guard Vince Carter (25) during the second half at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Vince Carter, a small forward/shooting guard combo player, can easily slide down to the two-spot. At 38 years old, how sustainable will his play and his health become in Memphis? While he should certainly fit into the Grizzlies’ system more this year than last, these other uncertainties must be taken into consideration. Thankfully VC is not the only last-resort option.

Newcomer Matt Barnes also falls into the category utilized by Carter; however, he is mostly known as a top-notch defender rather than a prolific scorer. Can Barnes provide enough scoring when points are needed from the reserves?

Recipe for Success

The Memphis Grizzlies will have plenty of variety for their rotation this season, especially when it comes to the shooting guard position. A couple of their small forwards could possibly play down to the two, which will be very beneficial in certain matchups–when the Grizz need more athleticism, more scoring, or yet more defense.

Scoring is Memphis’ biggest need in order to take that next step toward an NBA World Championship. With perhaps their deepest roster in franchise history as the team prepares for the 2015-16 season, putting points on the board consistently must happen now.

Will things finally come to fruition in the 901?

Continue to check Beale Street Bears for the latest news, rumors, and other info of the offseason regarding your Memphis Grizzlies!

Go Grizz!