Year-after-year, they continue to remain as one of the league’s top powerhouses. While continuing their journey to make yet another deep postseason-run, they’re sitting at a very solid 34-24 record, and sixth in the Western Conference.
For a team that’s prioritized their source for winning has clearly sprouted from their grit and determination. More inevitably, it’s been led by Mike Conley, Zach Randolph — and eight-year Center, Marc Gasol.
Gasol, who stands at seven-feet, is having a terrific season. He’s averaging career-highs in points (20.6), assists (4.3), fewest personal fouls (2.4). But what’s certainly been put on high notice, is that he’s already made as well as taken the most three-pointers than any of his first-seven seasons in the league.
But yes, he is one of the top-five, maybe even top-three Centers in our league — and there’s no asking why:
However, a major part of his game has been missing — and it’s his rebounding.
Even though Marc has been phenomenal as far as scoring the basketball this year, he’s averaging career-lows in both offensive (0.8) and total rebounds (6.2) per game. Let’s give ourselves a narrow reminder that this is the same player who averaged 9.3 boards in the 2008-09 season, as a 25 year-old sophomore.
But surely enough, plenty has happened since his second-year in the league. In three of his last four seasons, Gasol has logged only 65 games or less. It’s been difficult for Gasol to stay healthy, as he’s dealt with several injuries, regarding his right-foot. It’s also not unknown that because of injuries, the Grizzlies have been a large example of a team that cannot compete heavily in the West, due to these limitations.
Although the Grizzlies 8th in offensive rebounds, they are 18th in total rebounds and 23rd in defensive rebounds — which are very subpar for a team with this much promise.
Albeit, Gasol has never been the Grizzlies’ strongest glass-eater by no means, as Randolph has carried that personality throughout the last several years. Randolph is currently pulling down 8.3 rebounds in just 24.3 minutes per game, as he’s started in just three of his fifty games. He’s always been their best option — with 10.5 boards through seven-seasons with Memphis.
The Grizzlies’ second-leading rebounder is given to JaMychal Green, who’s well-understood his role this year. With a 7.3 rebounding average, he’s been starting over Randolph throughout the first-half of the season.
Gasol must contribute more in this area — especially if the Grizzlies look to clinch a higher seed at season’s end. His season-high rebounding total actually came in Wednesday’s loss against New Orleans, where he pulled down twelve. Gasol has only had three games this season with at least three-or-more offensive rebounds. At one point, he even went fifteen-consecutive games without cracking double-digits in rebounds. Its great to see him expand his game offensively, but it’s important that’s he reestablishes his position inside — that’s if the Grizzlies are looking to raise their level of play.
Of course, Memphis has so much more to be concerned about, as they’re bottom-third in the NBA in scoring, three-point shooting, as well as assists. But Gasoline struggling on the glass is one of their easiest issues.