NBA Free Agency is a lot like playing the lottery. You spend and spend praying that you get results that can have you set for life. In the NBA, teams look at a player’s performance over the course of their career or in some instances a career season and throw insane amounts of cash in hopes those feats can be duplicated. The Memphis Grizzlies are played a dangerous game with their bank account by signing PG Mike Conley and SF Chandler Parson to a Max deals. Or so it seemed.
But, as much as one might want to hit the Grizzlies brass upside their heads, look at them from a players standpoint. They are loyal to their guys. I’m pretty sure over the years there have been calls taken about the availability of Marc Gasol, Zach Randolph, and Conley. But the Grizz stood their ground, believing they have the proper mixture of talent to win a championship.
Conley has been solid throughout his career but to be paid like an All-Star is good for him but bad for the team and the NBA. The Grizzlies have underachieved over the last 5 years and while Conley is not solely the reason he is part of the problem. His career averages of 14/6 are well below max money, as far as star quality, he is light years behind the likes of Stephen Curry, Russell Westbrook, John Wall, Damian Lillard and more. How can you reward those numbers with 20M+ a year? But Conley wasn’t the only signing that left fans alike shaking their heads. The Grizz also withdrew another large deposit for the services of Chandler Parsons. Yes, the same Parsons that has a yearly reservation with the injury list.
The Grizzlies are a power team, especially in the post with Gasol and Randolph but Conley has been unable to make those players better. His job is to penetrate and kick out but he has yet to reach that level and to be honest he might not ever reach that ceiling. $153M for a player that has yet to make an All-Star appearance in his career or average more than 7 assists in a season. Defensively he is average but the Grizzlies felt like he was worth that money. Parsons, however, when healthy has a great upside and should see plenty of opportunities with this unit but can you trust him for a full season?
A lineup that features Conley, Gasol, Parsons and Randolph alone should be good for 50+ wins but it’s what they do in the postseason that counts. So far this season the Grizzlies are ranked 21st in the league in scoring as Conley has upped his scoring averaging but his assists have dropped to six a game. Parsons, coming off injury has yet to provide the scoring the Grizzlies were hoping for. Randolph has taken a bench role but the Grizzlies are still in the top half of the Western Conference.
This is a marathon, not a sprint and the Grizzlies are a veteran bunch who has plenty to play for as this may be the last season they are together as a unit.