Memphis Grizzlies Weekly: Let’s Play the Blame Game!

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To say the 2013-14 season is not going as planned for the Memphis Grizzlies is a huge understatement at this point. The hope was that under new head coach Dave Joerger the Grizzlies would speed up the offense and with their great defense they would be competing for a spot in the Finals come playoff time. The expectations were bigger this year because the Grizzlies were coming off of the best season in franchise history at 56-26 and a trip to the Western Conference Finals. However, so far this season Memphis has struggled mightily leading to a 10-13 record and in a loaded West they are sitting 13th in the conference. Therefore, with the Grizzlies not living up to expectations people, mostly fans, begin to place blame on select individuals or groups.  For that reason, we are going to play the blame game and look at two specific reasons for the slow start.

Reason No. 1

To sit here and say that injuries have not been the biggest issue so far for the Grizzlies would be blasphemy. Here is the list of players that have missed games so far in the first 23 games of the season: Marc Gasol, Quincy Pondexter, Jerryd Bayless, Zach Randolph, Ed Davis and Tony Allen. Now Mike Conley is considered day-to-day after suffering a bruised left thigh, if Conley misses any time he will be the seventh player on the roster to miss games. The main blow was delivered when Marc Gasol went out with a sprained knee back on Nov. 22. Before the injury Gasol was playing like the All-Star that he is, during the four-game win streak, he led the team in assists in three of the games. Gasol is the key for the Grizzlies postseason chances, if he can come back sooner rather than later Memphis could make a late run.

Reason No. 2

Nov 30, 2013; Memphis, TN, USA; Memphis Grizzlies head coach Dave Joerger reacts to a call during the first half against the Brooklyn Nets at FedExForum. Mandatory Credit: Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

Most fans want to blame Joerger as the main reason, besides injuries that the Grizzlies are where they currently stand. However, I believe this is all on the management of the Memphis Grizzlies, which is mainly Chris Wallace. First mistake was not keeping Lionel Hollins; not only had he taken the Grizzlies to the Western Conference Finals the year before, but this roster fit his style of play. But for whatever reason Wallace made the change to Joerger in hopes of speeding up the offense. However, he did not change the roster to match what Joerger needs to become more of a fast breaking team. The Grizzlies really only added Mike Miller in the offseason, who would help space the floor, but kept the same roster intact that is build to pound the paint. Last season the Grizzlies averaged 93 points per game the same amount they are averaging this season, furthermore, they are down from 12 fast break points last year to 10.5 this season. Again I don’t think Joerger can be blamed for the slow start, he was given an impossible situation when they did not bring back Hollins and did not update the roster to fit Joerger’s style.

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