In a series where your team has to defend Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, you need all your elite perimeter defenders on hand.
Which is why the following is bad news for the Grizzlies heading into Game 1 on the road, via Gary Parish of CBSSports.com.
That is not a definitive no, but it isn’t likely he goes in Game 1 Sunday.
Conley suffered three facial fractures from an inadvertent elbow from C.J. McCollum in the last round, and on Monday had surgery to put two steel plates in his face to secure the bones. So, you can forgive him for missing some games. He was at the closeout Game 5 but his face was still very swollen. The rumor has been the Grizzlies hoped to have him back by Game 3 of this series, but there is no timetable. Less Conley means more Beno Udrih, Courtney Lee, and Nick Calathes.
This is a tough matchup for the Grizzlies in the best of circumstances. They have an elite defense but they struggle to defend in transition, they are average at running teams off the three-point line, and they are not great at stopping the ball handler coming off the pick-and-roll. Three things that are the core tenets of the Warriors game plan. It’s just a tough matchup for Memphis.
Conley would be a significant boost for Memphis, but his health must be the priority.