COMMENTARY | For the past several seasons, the Memphis Grizzlies have grown into a legitimate contender in the NBA.
Even with the lack of a bona-fide superstar player, the Grizzlies have managed to appear in the NBA playoffs three consecutive seasons, tying a franchise record. Despite their recent success, however, many fans in Memphis are still singing the blues when it comes to the team's most pressing issue: a lack of perimeter shooting.
The Grizzlies undoubtedly field one of the strongest frontcourt lineups in the NBA. Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph (both former NBA All-Stars) serve as the cornerstones for the Grizzlies' offensive game. But for years, the problem for Memphis has been complementing an elite low-post offense with effective perimeter shooting. The Grizzlies have ranked near the bottom in the NBA in terms of 3-point field-goal percentage for several seasons.
This lack of shooting became exposed during the Western Conference finals in 2013 when Memphis was swept by the San Antonio Spurs. San Antonio employed an ingenious "pack the paint" defensive scheme, which rendered the Grizzlies' one-dimensional low-post offense effectively useless. With virtually only one starting player (Mike Conley) who held the ability to shoot the 3-ball, the Grizzlies were easily defeated in the best-of-seven series.
As the wounds from a disappointing end to the season healed, Grizzlies fans began to hope the team's rookie ownership crew would finally address the franchise's lack of shooting. However, the offseason moves to address this issue have certainly been underwhelming thus far. Shortly after start of free agency, Memphis signed 3-point specialist Mike Miller. Miller's signing came as an excitement to some Grizzlies fans who recalled his high-caliber shooting ability and two championships with the Miami Heat. Other fans have questioned, though, whether or not an aging swingman who has struggled with injury truly is the answer the team's shooting troubles.
As the offseason has progressed, it is becoming apparent that Memphis Grizzlies management considers finding suitable reserves for starters Marc Gasol and Mike Conley the top priority. As Grizzlies fans wait, they can only hope that the signing of Mike Miller is not the end of the team's pursuit for 3-point shooting.
If so, Memphis' dream of at last bringing a championship parade to Beale Street may need to be put on hold.
Nicholas Naveiras is a lifelong Memphian, college student, and diehard Memphis Grizzlies follower. He has followed the franchise's on- and off-court progress since 2001.
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