Point guard Mike Conley is out for at least six weeks with a fractured vertebrae (although, depending on the vertebrae, maybe he returns sooner). With that Grizzlies’ depth issues become incredibly clear: With Conley on the court Memphis is 19.3 points per 100 possessions better than when he sits. Pair Conley and Marc Gasol on the court together the Grizzlies are +7.9 per 100. Or look at it this way, with Gasol and Conley paired this season the Grizzlies are +81, without them they are -88.
Memphis’ lack of depth is going to be an issue, they will fall back on Wade Baldwin and Andrew Harrison to fill in for now. But they want more depth, and are going to look at free agents (as of Dec. 3 they can apply for a hardship and temporarily add a 16th person to the roster). Norris Cole’s name already came up.
With the possibility that the Grizzlies could apply for the exception, creating a 16th roster spot, the Grizzlies plan to start working out free-agent point guards, league sources told The Vertical. Included among the several players expected to visit the Grizzlies for tryouts: Kendall Marshall, Toney Douglas and Will Bynum, league sources told The Vertical.
Other reports say Mario Chalmers, who was playing fairly well for the Grizzlies will before rupturing his Achilles last season, will not be brought in for a workout.
Cole is playing in China but has an NBA opt-out clause. Marshall was just picked up by the Reno Bighorns of the D-League off waivers. None of these answers are very good.
The Grizzlies are 11-7 in the middle of the pack in the West to start the season, but the basketball gods have soured on them and injuries are piling up: Chandler Parsons (bone bruise), Brandon Wright (ankle) and James Ennis (calf strain) have missed games due to injury lately, while Zach Randolph was out Monday due to the death of his mother.
Memphis needs to find a way to keep its head above water for the next six weeks or so and not fall so far out of the playoff race that they can’t find their way back when healthy. That’s easier said than done.