Welcome back to another edition of Flip This Franchise!
In the previous blog, we saw the Grizzlies capping off a fairly quiet free agency period by going out and trading for former ROY, Malcolm Brogdon. From this point forward, the Grizzlies are equipping what appears to be a solid young core of Jackson Jr., Brogdon, Morris, Reddish, and Mitchell Robinson, with their star-studded vets in Demarcus Cousins and Jimmy Butler. Before the season officially begins, I have added below the current rotation that the Grizzlies will be running with for the 2020-21 NBA season.
Starting Lineup & Bench
PG: Monte Morris, 80 OVR, 26 MINS
SG: Malcolm Brogdon, 85 OVR, 30 MINS
SF: Jimmy Butler, 89 OVR, 34 MINS
PF: Jaren Jackson Jr., 88 OVR, 33 MINS
C: Demarcus Cousins, 89 OVR, 34 MINS
6: (SF) Cam Reddish, 82 OVR, 26 MINS
7: (PG) Elfrid Payton, 79 OVR, 23 MINS
8: (C) Mitchell Robinson, 79 OVR, 18 MINS
9: (PF) Alec Peters, 78 OVR, 10 MINS
10: (SF) OG Anunoby, 77 OVR, 7 MINS
11: (PG) Raul Neto, 75 OVR, 0 MINS
12: (SG) Tony Allen, 73 OVR, 0 MINS
13: (PF) Jaron Blossomgame, 73 OVR, 0 MINS
RES: (SG) Dairis Bertans, 71 OVR
RES: (C) Tarik Black, 73 OVR
With this line-up, I was looking to keep the big three of Butler, Jackson Jr., and Cousins on the floor as much as possible, with Brogdon receiving the next most as he is the best SG on the team by far. Additionally, I decided to give Morris the starting nod over Payton for his 3PT shooting ability to pair with Brogdon, who also has an A+ 3PT. Reddish at an 82 OVR provides quality versatility as the sixth man and can spread the floor, playing either the 2 or the 3.
I felt that Robinson was also well deserving of his minutes because of his terrific defensive ability especially from the perimeter, which is rare at the center position. I gave similar minutes to Peters and Anunoby as they are both role players, Peters being the lengthy shooter, and Anunoby being the all-around athlete and defender. Overall, I felt that this line-up made the most sense to at least run with for the first half of the season.
In terms of the first half of the season, the Grizzlies finished with a record of 28-24 just before the trade deadline. This currently puts them as the 5th best team in the Western Conference, 10 games out of first place, with the Nuggets, Warriors, Rockets, and Spurs ahead of them, respectively.
Diving deeper into their record, the Grizzlies are dominating when playing at home with a record of 18-9, but they are 10-15 when playing on the road. Additionally, the injury bug has hit the Grizzlies again just like it did last year around this time, except this time instead of Jimmy Butler it is both Demarcus Cousins and Mitchell Robinson, leaving Tarik Black as the sole center left on the team. However, Cousin’s sprained right knee injury will only keep him out a few more days, as he is slated to play in the team’s next game before the trade deadline.
Cousin’s injury still hurts the team nonetheless, as he has been averaging a double-double this season with 21.5 PPG/10.7 RPG. With Robinson however, his left-hand fracture will keep him out for 1-2 more weeks, which means a move must be made to pick up another back-up center to keep the team in contention.
Overall, before the trade deadline, a move must be made to either trade for another center or sign one of the current free agents available. If we go the free agency route, a player on our current roster must be cut in order to pave the way for someone new. In that sense, I would be more inclined to release a player like Dairis Bertans who at a 71 OVR has yet to see any minutes this season. Additionally, OG Anunoby’s morale is affecting his overall as he is disgruntled with the limited amount of minutes he has seen thus far. In that sense, he might be on the trade market as well considering he only has 1 year left on his contract and we could flip him for a quality player at the SG position, considering Brogdon has seen all the minutes at that position all season.
While I do believe Anunoby is a quality young player with potential, with Butler and Reddish ahead of him on the depth chart at the SF position it makes more sense for us to go after another SG to give Brogdon additional help off the bench. The Grizzlies are currently ranked 29th in bench points per game, so adding additional players off the bench at the C and SG position will be helpful to the team moving forward.
Stay tuned for the next Flip This Franchise where we will discuss what/if any moves the Grizzlies will make before the 2020-21 NBA Trade Deadline. Got any ideas of who they should add to the team? Tweet me your opinions @christhorkilsen
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