2 Seasons ago in the 1st round of the Playoffs the 8th seeded Memphis Grizzlies upset the #1 seeded San Antonio Spurs and an identity was forged. “Grit N Grind” was the motto and the Grizzlies fell one game short of reaching the Western Conference Finals that season as they lost to Kevin Durant and the Thunder in 7 hard fought games. It was then that the Grizzlies put the NBA on notice that no longer was a Memphis a speed bump in the 1st round for teams, they were contenders and Zach Randolph was a dominant force in the post.
This season has seen the Grizzlies go through a transitional period trading away All-Star Forward Rudy Gay to the Raptors and adding Bigger, longer more athletic bodies such as Ed Davis, Tayshaun Prince and Austin Daye. Rather than worrying about getting Gay/Randolph a certain Number of touches the offense has more of an identity and plays more in the low post through Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol. Adding the likes of Tayshaun Prince and Ed Davis has added help to playing the kind of basketball Memphis wants to play which is grind it out defensive basketball which is a great formula for winning in the playoffs.
Although Randolph is among the league leaders in Double-Doubles (4th-44) he hasn't quite been that dominant force people expected him to be after trading Rudy Gay. If the Grizzlies want to get where they want to go then Zach Randolph needs to play his best basketball and become a dominant force down low for the Memphis Grizzlies. 20+ Points per game and 10-12 like Rebounds is what they need from him. When he is dominant it makes life easier for guys Like Quincy Pondexter, Jayred Bayless and Mike Conley to knock down open shots on the perimeter.
The Grizzlies will meet the L.A Clippers in the 1st round who knocked them out in 7 games. Randolph averaged 13 Points and 9 rebounds a game which is solid but not what you need from the focal point of your offense. In the 2011 Playoffs he averaged 22 points and 10 Rebounds, the fate of Memphis will rely on how dominate Randolph can be in the post in the playoffs. That will be a tall task particularly in the 1st round vs the Clippers with guys like Blake Griffin and Deandre Jordan in the frontcourt. Memphis is going to have to limit turnovers and control tempo throughout the series.
Randolph is an All-Star talent and is a very good player but does he become great in the Playoffs this year? Only time will tell
The Playoffs begin April 20th With the Memphis Grizzlies Matched up against Blake Griffin and the L.A Clippers