Scouting the Opposition: Memphis Grizzlies
For every home game this season, we’ll be gathering some intel on the opposing team from someone who knows them best — a team employee, a rival blogger, beat writer or broadcaster.
His answers are below:
Hawks.com: People have been all over the map in their reaction to the Grizzlies’ trade of Rudy Gay for Tayshaun Prince, Ed Davis and Austin Daye. Taking aside the cap/tax considerations, what does this deal do to the way the Grizzlies operate on the court?
Matt Moore: It’s likely to make them more efficient. It helps with their frontcourt depth which has been disastrous for years and even more so since the trade. Prince can operate as as the spot-up shooter they need and can at least probe the defense a bit off the dribble. They’ll operate more in the post, which is where they’re at their best. The offense will still struggle, but with fewer mind-numbing isolations.
Hawks.com: Given the deal, do you see Memphis still having a chance to compete for the conference title this season?
MM: This doesn’t affect their chances, if anything, it improves it. Gay’s perimeter penetration and shot creation was valuable, but again, those isolation plays would just kill Memphis. They have better depth, a shooter, and another quality big to account for foul trouble.
Hawks.com: Several years ago, a lot of Hawks fans clamored for the team to select Mike Conley over Al Horford. Regardless of how that has played out, how do you rate Conley at this stage in his career?
MM: He’s one of the best ‘game managers” in the league. He just runs the offense really well. He plays within himself and makes sure the ball goes where it needs to. His defensive improvement has been huge and he and Tony Allen make for a killer ball-pressure combo.
Hawks.com: Regardless of the woes Pau Gasol has faced in Los Angeles this season, has Marc Gasol passed his brother in on-court impact?
MM: Two years ago. Marc is the best all-around center in the league as long as Dwight Howard‘s still injured. He’s become a better passer than Pau, he sets better screens, he’s arguably the best pick and roll defending big in the league, he’s a monster. But more than anything, he’s got the toughness Pau has always lacked.
Hawks.com: Are the Grizzlies done dealing, or do you still see the potential for moves before the deadline?
MM: Hard to see them making another move. The remaining Big 3 aren’t going anywhere, and the complimentary pieces won’t fetch enough on the market. But the trade exception they gained could be valuable if an opportunity shows up.