By Michael Wallace
Grind City Media
MEMPHIS – Welcome to #GrizzCamp Confidential.
As the Memphis Grizzlies push through a rugged week of training camp heading into Monday’s preseason opener against Orlando at FedExForum, Grind City Media breaks down where the roster stands around franchise anchors Mike Conley and Marc Gasol.
On Wednesday, we examined the challenges and opportunities at the guard spots. And Thursday, we analyzed the options among bigs.
Today, we wrap up with a look at wings.
Who’s in: Chandler Parsons, James Ennis III, Tyreke Evans, Ben McLemore, Wayne Selden, Dillon Brooks and Rade Zagorac.
Who’s out: Tony Allen and Vince Carter.
Reason for concern:
Of all the positions, small forward loomed as the biggest question mark for the Grizzlies entering camp and that will likely remain the case throughout the preseason. Parsons, obviously, is the key to providing most of the answers. If he’s healthy – indications are he’s well beyond the recovery and rehab stage from those season-ending knee issues and has participated fully in camp practices – the puzzle should come together quickly for Memphis. There’s plenty riding on Parsons as he approaches the midway point of that four-year, $94 million max contract. Ennis, a solid defender who has been erratic offensively, is the only other experienced traditional small forward on the camp roster.
Cause for confidence:
Versatility and flexibility are buzzwords these days as coach David Fizdale enters his second season in Memphis. The small forward and shooting guard spots – and even point guard and power forward, to an extent – are virtually interchangeable. That’s already been evident in camp and the experimentation will continue entering the season as Selden and Evans swing between the guard and forward spots, and Parsons shifts between small forward and ‘stretch four.’ It’s likely Selden opens as the starter at shooting guard until McLemore recovers from foot surgery. Like Selden, Brooks also looks to build on an impressive showing at the Las Vegas Summer League to bolster the wing depth.
Parsons has shown flashes in camp of the athleticism, shooting and confidence that were missing throughout his first, injury-and-recovery plagued season with the Grizzlies. And Parsons insists he’s excited for a preseason game for the first time since his rookie year. His skillset calibrates and complements Conley and Gasol, meaning he’s the domino that allows everything else to properly fall into place. All Parsons has to be is good and consistently available – not great, not an All-Star – and the Grizzlies have a quality third option that gives them a fighting chance among West playoff contenders. Selden, Evans and McLemore also have plenty to prove and are positioned to provide solid insurance.
The contents of this page have not been reviewed or endorsed by the Memphis Grizzlies. All opinions expressed by Michael Wallace are solely his own and do not reflect the opinions of the Memphis Grizzlies or its Basketball Operations staff, owners, parent companies, partners or sponsors. His sources are not known to the Memphis Grizzlies and he has no special access to information beyond the access and privileges that go along with being an NBA accredited member of the media.