Memphis Grizzlies roster 2013: The 'Grit n' Grind' bunch looks similar

Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

The biggest change by Memphis this offseason came at head coach.

For the Memphis Grizzlies, the major roster move came last February, when the team traded star forward Rudy Gay to the Toronto Raptors for some minor pieces. However, after letting go of head coach Lionel Hollins despite a trip to the Western Conference finals, the team's adjustments entering the season will be interesting to watch.

With the admittedly old-school Hollins clashing with the innovative style of new executives like John Hollinger, the Grizzlies made the change by promoting David Joerger, the former lead assistant and someone more likely to agree with management's ideas.

So while the Grizzlies' core hasn't changed since the team's loss to the Spurs in the postseason, things will presumably be different in Memphis to some degree. If everything works out, the Grizz could fight to compete for their first trip to the NBA Finals in franchise history.

Projected Starters

Mike Conley -- Long considered a solid player, Conley took his game to another level during the 2012-13 season. Despite a somewhat disappointing performance in the postseason, we saw the point guard thrive in the regular season while taking on a larger offensive role following Gay's departure. One of the best defensive point guards in the league and an increasingly effective player on the other end, it wouldn't be surprising if Conley received an All-Star nod at some point in his career.

Tony Allen -- The proprietor of "Grit n' Grind" could have left Memphis this offseason -- Milwaukee reportedly showed interest -- but the Grizzlies ultimately re-signed Allen to a four-year deal. Really, this was probably a no-brainer for the team all along, as Allen's elite perimeter defense and unusual antics help to define the team both on and off the court. His lack of offensive skill will forever infuriate, but he makes up for it in other ways.

Tayshaun Prince -- Replacing an in-his-prime Rudy Gay with a past-his-prime Tayshaun Prince shouldn't make a team better, but that's exactly what happened in Memphis. Without Gay's isolation-heavy style to muddle the Grizzlies' offense, other players found expanded roles while Prince simply settled in as a minor contributor. At age 33, Prince isn't the player who starred for the Pistons years ago, but he's still a long, skilled defensive player who can knock down open shots.

Zach Randolph -- Age and injury have slowed Randolph down, but his work ethic and physicality make him a highly effective player in his early 30s. After averaging exactly 20 points per game from 2004-11, those days are surely over, but Randolph's deft touch and plethora of post moves around the rim make him an effective scorer as his athleticism wanes. He's also an elite rebounder who understands his role on defense, making him a superb fit for this team.

Marc Gasol -- The reigning Defensive Player of the Year may actually be underrated on the national scale considering his stunning two-way impact. A physical behemoth at 7'1 and 265 pounds, Gasol's understanding of how to use his size and strength to gain positioning and alter opponents' actions makes him a devastating presence on both sides of the court. Because of the relatively underwhelming individual stats -- 14.1 points, 7.8 rebounds, 4.0 assists, 1.7 blocks per game -- you may not immediately see a star, but his impact can be seen pretty quickly when watching Memphis play.

Key Reserves

Kosta Koufos -- Acquired in exchange for Darrell Arthur and Joffrey Lauvergne, Koufos returns to the bench after starting 81 games for Denver last season. A steady big man who scores efficiently around the basket and rebounds well, he'll fit nicely as the first big off the bench.

Ed Davis -- The other remaining piece from the Gay trade, Davis has long seemed ripe for a breakout. Playing in a crowded Memphis frontcourt, that probably won't end up happening with this team, but the 24-year-old can still be highly useful playing 20-plus minutes a night.

Jerryd Bayless -- Backing up Conley, Bayless brings a nice change-of-pace off the bench for Memphis. A score-first guard, he struggled badly in the 2013 postseason (36 percent shooting from the field), but still provides scoring punch when called upon.

Quincy Pondexter -- A big, physical wing who plays strong defense and hits three-pointers (40 percent in 2012-13), he could see an expanded role in 2012-13 as Prince gets older.

Mike Miller -- Returning to Memphis after winning a pair of titles in Miami, the 33-year-old still brings elite three-point shooting even if the rest of his game sours.

Deep on the Bench

Josh Akognon -- Claimed off waivers from the Mavericks after a strong Summer League performance, Akognon could provide backcourt depth. UPDATE: He was already released after this post was finalized.

Nick Calathes -- Another player acquired from Dallas, Calathes has zero NBA experience but earned honors as one of Europe's better players in recent years. At Eurocup 2013, Calathes was named MVP after leading Lokomotiv Kuban to a championship.

Jamaal Franklin -- The Mountain West Conference Player of the Year in 2012, Franklin was drafted by Memphis with the No. 41 pick in this year's draft.

Jon Leuer -- A favorite of statheads across the web thanks to a strong statistical profile, Leuer's struggled to find major opportunities. He played for three teams, including Memphis, during his first two NBA seasons.

Willie Reed -- Signed out of the D-League in April, the 6'10 big man out of Saint Louis still hasn't recorded a minute in the NBA.

Head Coach

David Joerger -- Hired by the Grizzlies as an assistant coach in 2007, he quickly had a major influence with the team. By 2011, he was promoted to lead assistant under Hollins with a focus on defense. In his first year with Memphis, the team finished 28th in defensive efficiency. The team's steady progress over the next few years is stunning: from 28th to 21st to 19th to nine to seventh to second. Every year, the team has gotten better with Joerger's help, and having his voice lead the team makes a good deal of sense.

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