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New Grizzlies coach Dave Joerger says he’ll play starters less than Lionel Hollins did

Aug 27, 2013, 4:48 PM EDT

San Antonio Spurs v Memphis Grizzlies - Game Four Getty Images

The Grizzlies didn’t overly rely on any single player last season. Marc Gasol played 35.0 minutes per game (32nd in the NBA), Mike Conley 34.5 (40th) and Zach Randolph 34.3 (45th).

But collectively, Memphis was extremely reliant on its starters

Just three other teams – the Warriors, 76ers and Trail Blazers, who had four – had as many players average so many minutes per game. After Feb. 1, when they replaced Rudy Gay with Tayshaun Prince, the Grizzlies played their starting lineup on the court together more than any team but the Thunder.

New Grizzlies coach Dave Joerger plans to change that. Via Ronald Tillery of The Commercial Appeal:

“I like our roster. I’m hoping we’ve created depth,” Joerger said. “I’m hoping Jerryd Bayless, Quincy Pondexter, Ed Davis and Kosta Koufos keep growing. If they do that and have a good year this year, then we have some really nice depth.

“We need those guys to make shots. They’ve got to play. And I’m looking forward to having that. I know what Mike Miller is going to give us from the perimeter. Hopefully, those other guys have a big year. I want the bench to be successful. It’s a long season and the West is a gauntlet.”

This is framed is a minute-allocation issue for the coach, but it’s really a player-development issue.

Memphis has a young bench, and at this point, it’s unclear just how large of roles Bayless, Pondexter, Davis and Koufos can handle – at least in Joerger’s eyes.

It’s easy for a coach to say he wants to play youngsters more. But when faced with a decision between the sometimes-erratic Pondexter and the always-dependable Prince, few coaches – Gregg Popovich being the notable exception – have the stomach to play Pondexter more. With their jobs seemingly always on the line, many coaches are risk averse.

So, if Joerger works with Memphis’ young players, helps improve their skills and sand the rough edges of their games, this problem will take care of itself. Otherwise, it will be a real test of Joerger’s fortitude.

  1. saint1997 - Aug 27, 2013 at 5:13 PM

    I honestly think if Memphis wants to contend they should look to move Z-Bo at the deadline while he still has value for some talent or a reasonably high pick in the 2014 draft

    • biasedhomer - Aug 27, 2013 at 5:53 PM

      They won’t get a player better than ZBo for ZBo.
      Tell me what lottery team will trade a high 1st round pick for Randolf? At most, they would get a mid round 1st from a potential 8th seed.
      As for players, you aren’t going to get someone like Cousins from a team rebuilding. The Celtics likely wouldn’t want Randolf for Rondo since they too are looking to get younger.

      Maybe the Pistons would trade Greg Monroe for him, but that is a clear downgrade for Memphis.

      • saint1997 - Aug 27, 2013 at 6:03 PM

        What I meant was young talent and/or picks. I think the Grizzlies would go for Ilyasova, 2014 pick and Giannis Antentokounmpo. They get a rebounder of a 4 who can stretch the floor, they have extreme young talent in GA to learn from Tayshaun and they can snag a player in the draft like Gary Harris

      • kinggw - Aug 27, 2013 at 7:34 PM

        Why would the Bucks or any team trade for a guy who is 32, has bad knees, and is owed $34M over the next two years? Randolph is not the type of player whose game is going to age well.

        Im sure the Grizzlies would go for the trade you proposed. I think the Bucks would laugh the Griz out of the room.

      • money2long - Aug 27, 2013 at 9:29 PM

        actually , randolph’s old man, unathletic game should age well. he’s not a quick nor above the rim player. he should continue to be effective well into his mid 30s.

      • 00maltliquor - Aug 27, 2013 at 10:59 PM

        Why would Randolph’s game not age well? He’s gotten this far without athletic ability, what’s gonna change? What exactly is he gonna lose as he gets older?

  2. 00maltliquor - Aug 27, 2013 at 10:55 PM

    ………..until he finds out he has hot garbage for a bench!

  3. jusdre313 - Aug 27, 2013 at 11:18 PM

    yeah thats what im saying why trade Zbo.. one of the best bigs in the game is a lefty and one of just a handfull of bigs that plays with his back to the basket and like maltliquor00 said he does all this with no athleticism. I would say they need to a better bench IMO.

  4. adamsjohn714 - Aug 27, 2013 at 11:34 PM

    This sounds like minutes for Ed Davis. Good idea.

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