The third straight Grizzlies coach has reached the same conclusion: Zach Randolph should come off the bench.
Will it stick this time?
Lionel Hollins used Randolph in reserve 20 times in 2011-12 after a knee injury sidelined Randolph a significant portion of the season. Dave Joerger used Randolph in reserve 15 times last year until Memphis ran into too much injury trouble.
Now, David Fizdale will start the season with Randolph on the bench behind JaMychal Green.
Alexis Morgan of the Grizzlies:
As the 35-year-old Randolph declines, it becomes harder to use him extensively in a two-big lineup with Gasol. Despite the interior plusses that tandem brings, Randolph and Gasol have to work exceptionally hard to compensate for their lack of combined speed. Randolph can no longer keep up enough to compensate for what he provides in the post.
Green spaces the floor better offensively, and he’s a more mobile defender than Randolph (though Green hardly qualifies as a archetypal stretch four). More so, this just balances the first and second units.
Randolph could do real damage inside against backup big men, who aren’t used to guarding someone as strong and skilled as Randolph.
The Grizzlies lose some of their grit-and-grind identity by moving Randolph to the bench, but this probably better positions them to win – which is obviously the priority.