More bad news have struck the Memphis Grizzlies, who cannot seem to get much good luck these days. After getting hit with a barrage of injuries last season, the Grizzlies are in a similar position in the early part of the 2016-17 campaign. First, it was a few nagging injuries which kept a few Grizzlies’ players out, now it is a big injury to one of their stars that is in position to put the team into a tailspin.
Grizzlies’ point guard Mike Conley is scheduled to miss anywhere from 6-8 weeks due to a back injury, according to Yahoo Sports. Fractured vertebrae will keep him out that length of time. Conley’s injury also could render him somewhat ineffective when he does return. Chances are great that the Grizzlies look outside for someone to fill-in at the point guard spot.
The timing for Conley’s injury is not good. The Memphis Grizzlies have become an NBA mash unit this season. There are only two players; Vince Carter and JaMychal Green who has played in every game thus far. Prior to Conley getting hurt, Chandler Parsons was the Grizzlies’ greatest injury concern. Parsons is expected to return next week. For now, he is on the mend with a bone bruise (courtesy of TSN).
Conley being out also takes away the Memphis Grizzlies’ leading scorer and playmaker. And it begs to bring up the question of who can Memphis call upon to replace him.
For now, the point guard duties will go to Andrew Harrison, with 2016 first round pick Wade Baldwin IV backing him up.
Harrison, who is listed at 6-foot-6, has good size and court vision. What he lacks is NBA experience. Although he was taken in the second round of the 2015 NBA draft, Harrison never played in a game last season, which technically makes him is a rookie. He was going into the game against the Toronto Raptors only shooting 27 percent from the field. Inexperience and the fear of Harrison being a liability on offense may provoke the Grizzlies to sign a veteran guard.
According to Basketball Insiders, veteran point guard Norris Cole is among the group of players the Memphis Grizzlies want to bring in for a workout. The others who are on the Grizzlies’ short list includes Toney Douglas, Kendall Marshall, Will Bynum, and former Grizzlies’ guard Mario Chalmers.
Norris Cole may receive the longest look by the Grizzlies due to his relationship with head coach David Fizdale. That relationship goes back to when Cole played under Fizdale during his stint as the lead assistant coach for the Miami Heat.
Cole and Fizdale know each other well. Fizdale is credited for helping the veteran guard with his footwork on defense. Defense has become a staple to Cole’s game throughout his NBA career. When healthy, Cole can stay in front of the better guards in the league. Some would even go as far as calling Cole an irritant at times on defense. His physical brand of basketball would make him an ideal fit with the Grizzlies.
Over the years, Cole’s shot has evolved and his range has extended. It will be interesting to see if somehow the Grizzlies pluck him away from his current team, the Shandong Golden Stars from the Chinese Basketball League.
Adding Mario Chalmers is not out of the question for the Grizzlies either. He played well with the team last season, and probably would have been invited back for a second year with the Grizzlies had it not been for a torn Achilles he suffered last season. According to the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Chalmers might also be on the radar of the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Chalmers not only played for the Grizzlies last season, but he also played for Coach Fizdale with the Heat. That could warrant some heavy consideration once he is healthy.
Bynum and Douglas will get a long look by the Memphis Grizzlies, but given the situation that they are in with regards to injuries, the Grizzlies may opt for familiarity. A perfect scenario for the Grizzlies would be for Harrison and or Baldwin to step up in a huge way.
[Featured Image by Harry How/Getty Images]