Note: This post first appeared at Bleacher Report
For the past few months, Memphis Grizzlies fans have been painfully aware of two things: O.J. Mayo is probably leaving town, and the team really needs a backup point guard.
Imagine the excitement that must have occurred Tuesday night, when the Grizzlies managed to solve both of those problems with one signing.
Yes, the Grizzlies inked a deal with former Raptors PG Jerryd Bayless, a talented player who could thoroughly improve the Grizzlies second unit, and finally give them an elite three-point shooter.
One of the Grizzlies biggest problems during the 2011-12 season was a severe lack of depth at the point-guard position. Once Mike Conley would come out of the game, the team would be largely directionless.
Jeremy Pargo, Josh Selby and Gilbert Arenas all took their turns running the second unit, and none found much success. Conley was the only player who could skilfully play the 1 position, and there was probably an undue amount of pressure on him.
The Bayless signing should cure that instantly.
Those who watched Bayless with the Raptors last season know that he is a high-volume scorer who can provide instant offense off the bench. In Toronto, he averaged 11.4 points per game, and was lights out from three-point range, shooting at a 42.4 percent clip.
If there’s one thing the Grizzlies have sorely lacked over the past two years, it’s three-point shooting. It killed them in the 2011 playoffs against the Thunder, and it killed them in their first-round loss to the Clippers this year. Too often, the Grizzlies have only been able to score two points at a time, while their opponents take control of games by draining three pointers.
Not only will Bayless be able to hit those sorely needed threes, by doing so, he can also spread the floor, creating more room for low-post threats like Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph.
While Bayless will be coming off the bench, I would expect him to operate in a sixth-man type role, where he will often be on the court with players from the first unit. His presence as a legitimate scoring threat will make things a lot easier for the Grizzlies other major scorers.
Essentially, the Grizzlies killed two birds with one stone by signing Bayless.
They now have a capable player to run the second unit, and they have a solid replacement for O.J. Mayo as the scorer off the bench. To top it off, they finally have someone who can shoot some threes.
This is one of the smartest moves any team has made this offseason. A lot of people think the Grizzlies have the skills to be a legitimate contender in the West; this signing went a long way towards getting them to that level.
The Grizzlies are likely to make the playoffs this season, and when they do, don’t be surprised if Bayess has a huge impact.