Aug 27, 2013, 4:48 PM EDT
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.
- Wednesday night’s NBA winners, losers: Chris Bosh wants you to know he is a No. 1 option 4
- Rajon Rondo leads Celtics to rout of Nets. How much does it mean? 6
- Bulls cruise to 24-point opening night win over Knicks 10
- Lakers’ rookie Julius Randle has surgery to repair fractured tibia, out for season 16
- Anthony Davis has zero chance of winning MVP this season 37
- Dwight Howard says he wants to move on from Kobe, Lakers. Actions show feud going strong. 45
- NBA Opening Night Winners/Losers: Big nights for The Beard and The Brow 27
- Kobe Bryant, Dwight Howard have little dust up; Kobe calls Howard “soft” (VIDEO) 61