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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.

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41 Responses to Jerryd Bayless: The Backup Point Guard We Needed

  1. EvanNo Gravatar says:

    Glad to see some 3SOBers on B/R!

    Bayless was my #1 choice after Ray Allen signed with the Heat. Way to go F/O!!!

  2. Maneme17No Gravatar says:

    Not enough, call me when we get better!

  3. StevedNo Gravatar says:

    Bayless had a great season from down-town last year, but over his career, he is a 35% 3FG shooter. Hopefully something fundamentally changed last year and he can keep his 3FG% over 40%. Otherwise, a pretty good combo guard to give Conley decent rest, and certainly better at running an offence than Pargo or Selby.

  4. JoeNo Gravatar says:

    Some people must be in a permanent state of Grizzlies depression. This is, and has been, the best case realistic scenario, in hindsight. Bayless is like Memphis; pretty damn good, but overlooked by flash. He absolutely kills 2 birds with one stone. No NBA team is 13 men deep…The Grizzlies now are LEGITIMATELY 10 men deep, and that’s without counting Selby OR Wroten. Pondexter, Bayless, Cunningham, Arthur, Speights. We are now one of the deepest teams in the league, which will help keep our cornerstones (Conley and Gasol, IMO) from exhausting themselves and allow for us to be extremely competitive in the playoffs, when rotations get shorter. Conley, Allen, Gay, Randolph, Gasol, Bayless, Wroten(hopefully), Arthur, Pondexter and Speights is a hell of a playoff squad.

    • J FalkNo Gravatar says:

      How does this kill 2 birds with 1 stone? All this move is doing is addressing one of our needs thoroughly. It definitely DOES NOT address our need of a replacement for Juice. I am happy that we got this done, but the only reliable 2 guard we have on the roster now is Tony Allen, and we STILL don’t have a reliable shooter…I’m not a pessimist, but I’m also not going to say Bayless will be “an elite 3pt shooter”. Like I’ve said, before last years shortened season he was a sub-30% 3pt shooter…

  5. JeremyNo Gravatar says:

    The negativity on these site is sad. Grzizzlies deserve better support.

    • J FalkNo Gravatar says:

      I’ve been a Grizzlies fan since day one…any negativity I express is only in the best interest of the team..lol

      I’m tired of us getting knocked out in the playoffs…I want a championship.

  6. Anthony MorrisonNo Gravatar says:

    A lot of teams have had splashier signings, but our extremely solid core remains intact, and we just filled our two needs with one guy. Our continuity and depth will be a strength, and we will continue to move up the latter in the west.

    • JoeNo Gravatar says:

      Our core is one of the best in the league, especially our front court. Conley is an above-average PG. Allen is an all-world defender. Our bench is DEEP. Now, I agree with the talking heads that you don’t win a title with a bench, you win with stars. BUT, we keep our “stars” fresh during the season so playoff time, we are on full tilt. I see the Thunder, Lakers, Spurs and MAYBE the Clippers as our major competition. The only team I truly feel is BETTER than us, is the Thunder.

  7. RfoxNo Gravatar says:

    I am VERY glad this fell into place. He took a step last year and his offense was quite good and hopefully a sign of growth.

    I am quite relieved

    I suspect the team will be good next year maybe get-into-the-conference-finals good. Not a bad thing all in all.

  8. Dr. JonNo Gravatar says:

    I think this is definitely a good pickup, but I hope Wallace can pull off a sign and trade for O.J. so that we can either score a future first rounder or another outside shooter. The team looks really promising, but this past season should remind us how even the best laid plans can be derailed by injury. Our depth should help there, but we still would benefit from another shooter (I’m thinking if we can work something out with Chicago for Korver, as they would definitely like to get their hands on Mayo).

  9. AndyNo Gravatar says:

    We have no cap space to sign and trade OJ. Don’t know how many times it has to be said before people stop suggesting it.

    • oinkyNo Gravatar says:

      Just saw this on Rotoworld:

      The Celtics are said to be targeting free agent guards O.J. Mayo or Courtney Lee.
      It sounds like they’re trying to negotiate a sign-and-trade for Mayo, while Lee has also been on their radar for days. Mayo is one of the bigger names still available and could see a boost in value if he were to be sent to the Celtics and beat out Jason Terry for the starting SG job.

  10. Maneme17No Gravatar says:

    I think people kept suggesting a sign and trade involving OJ because he is a valuable asset. A signing of a good player doesn’t excuse the ineptitude within the front office. OJ should have been considered core as much as anyone else on the Grizzlies roster.

    • PatrickNo Gravatar says:

      OJ was a no show in the playoffs and will get overpaid by someone. His three point shooting is erratic. I don’t think he’s a championship piece.

  11. J FalkNo Gravatar says:

    I’m probably the most optimistic Grizzlies fan there is, but I will not say that I’m extremely satisfied with this pickup…also, we have bird rights on OJ, so a sign and trade actually isn’t out of the question for everyone saying that it is. If we could package him, Selby and Cunningham to a team with some cap space I think we could still get a shooter(something this team still desperately needs). Like I said, I’m not trying to bring negativity, but just because Bayless had one good year of shooting doesn’t mean he’s going to solve our woes at the 3pt line.

  12. DaveNo Gravatar says:

    Steved is right. He was great from 3 last year. But he has been below average for his career from 3. One reason for hope is that last year he took more 3s per game than he had any other season. So maybe he figured it out. If so that would be a nice addition.

    As for the rest of his game, he’s probably not bad for a PG coming off the bench. It’s kind of hard to compare him to Mayo since Mayo is more of a SG. But if he plays that combo role that Mayo played he could be an upgrade. So given our cap situation this seems like a decent signing, with the potential to be a good one if he really did figure it out from 3 last season.

  13. Joe SmithNo Gravatar says:

    People need to realize something. Memphis just started becoming an elite team. The stigmata of losing is still too fresh. We are not going to get elite FAs. No Ray Allen, no Jason Terry. Very few players will want to come to Memphis as a reserve. Honestly, what FA would start in Memphis? None. So we get what we can get. Like I mentioned before. Bayless is THE SAME as Juice but younger, better 3 pt shooter, and better PG skills. OJ was atrocious at point and threw up way too many 3s.

    Also remember, this isn’t the 90s NBA anymore. Players are skilled at multiple positions, so as long as we have a player that can guard the opposing SG and have a nice jumper, we are fine. Hell Rudy can slide over to the 2 and let Poindexter or even Authur play the 3 for a few minutes.

  14. JoelNo Gravatar says:

    I like the pickup, but I am going to say this. We still need a legit 3 point threat!! Bayless is very good at shooting the 3 ball, but I am looking for more of a role player, kind of like Mike Miller used to be before his back and his knees crapped out, “Mike Miller can still play, but not like he did on the Grizz early on”. If we can find someone who is a proven, contant threat from 3, The Grizz are going to be over the top the next few seasons.

  15. JoelNo Gravatar says:

    Joe: Sasha is currently playing for Anadolu Efes S.K. In the Turkish league that takes part in the Euro League. He shot just under 33.6% from 3 and averaged 13.7 ppg in just over 30 min per game. He only played 16 games though

    • Joe SmithNo Gravatar says:

      He needs to come back, I always hated seeing that guy by himself in the corner, he was just lights out! He must have personal issues, his skillset is kind of high demand in the NBA (at his value anyway)

  16. boNo Gravatar says:

    so where does that put new draft pick wroten????

    • JoelNo Gravatar says:

      it puts less pressure on Wroten to be our main choice as backup out of the gate. It gives the rookie time to adjust to our system, learn how to play the NBA PG game from Mike and Lionel and it gives him an opportunity to really work on his game, so that when he does get the call to play some serious back up min, he will be able to. In the long run, being our 3rd or 4th option off the bench is good for Wroten right now, one of the best things you can do early on in your career is just watch the game. If you pay attention and really study the way your team plays, and the way the game is played in general, it will be VERY helpfull to his career. Right now he might not be happy with the lack of time played, but if he approaches it the right way, it will help his game a lot.

  17. MichaelNo Gravatar says:

    Have you ever thought about this?…..

    Wroten playing and guarding the 2 on defense but playing PG on offense?

    Defensively
    PG: Bayless
    SG: Wroten
    SF: Pondexter/Cunningham
    PF: Arthur
    C: Speights

    Offense
    PG: Tony Wroten
    SG: Jerryd Bayless
    SF: Pondexter/Cunningham
    PF: Arthur
    C: Speights

    This is just the bench lineup.

  18. KyleNo Gravatar says:

    I am hoping that Selby will develop a little more in the offseason, that kid has the raw capabilities to be a pure shooter, just needs time to develop, and I hope of he does, he can accept the two role… If so, grizz will already have a shooter and now have picked up a combo guard! How bout we see how this team develops before rushing a decision

    • stevedNo Gravatar says:

      I thought Selby’s main skill was speed, penetration, and taking low percentage lay-up attempts? Do you think he can improve his jump-shoot significantly? Also, his passing, defence and turn-overs would have to improve to give him more minutes on the floor. I don’t see him getting a lot of time – too many things for him to improve.

  19. presidentjoeNo Gravatar says:

    I like Bayless starting and Conley off the bench.

  20. J FalkNo Gravatar says:

    Conley fits in better with the starting lineup. They have been playing together for years, so why would we switch it up now? All he needs to do is play hard D and get the ball to the big guys(Rudy,Zbo, and Marc). He can also hit the 3 when they double team them.

    I see Bayless fitting in with the 2nd team because he is a natural scorer(something the 2nd team needs). The first team is fine; no point in putting another scorer who can’t run the offense like Conley in with the 1st team.

  21. Joe SmithNo Gravatar says:

    I don’t think we can execute a sign and trade. We r at the limit salary cap wise and signing OJ to trade him is worst then letting him go outright.

  22. J FalkNo Gravatar says:

    Most of you have obviously never heard of bird rights…it is when a team is allowed to sign there own players(that have been on the team for 3 or more years) to a contract even if it puts the team over the cap. Yes, the downfall is that you have to pay more, but if you can find the right trade that wouldn’t even be the case. This is why teams like L.A. have a payroll nearly 10 million over the tax threshold. Also, how is signing OJ and trading him for something that can help this team win(like a shooter and maybe draft picks) WORSE than letting him go? We could package him, Cunningham and Pargo and get a shooter(say Jared Dudley)and probably a 1st round pick. This would basically be like giving up 2 pieces that we won’t use for a piece that could help us tremendously. The thing that would make this trade work is that Dudley only makes 4 mil a year. Pargo and Cunningham make 3 mil combined…so if we do go over the threshold, it’s not by much. I believe we also have a trade exception that would probably cover that extra money, so basically we’d be right where we started except with this roster and an extra draft pick…

    Conley, Bayless, Selby/Wroten
    TA, Dudley, Wroten
    Rudy, Pon
    Zbo, DA
    Marc, Speights

    Wouldn’t that be a nice 12 to take to the playoffs next year? I’m not an expert at this sort of thing, but I believe my logic is correct here. If not, please feel free to educate me further.

    • J SharpNo Gravatar says:

      You are right, we do have a trade exception from the Sam Young deal. I believe is is around $1.3 million. I think we could find a better shooter than Dudley, I’m not sure who though.

      • J FalkNo Gravatar says:

        Dudley is a 41% 3 pt shooter for his career…he also plays good defense from what I’ve heard about him. I used him as an example because the Suns have plenty of cap space and are interested in Mayo.

    • lugeneparkerNo Gravatar says:

      Me and another poster above mentioned the same scenario. Sign and trade OJ packaged with Cunningham with pargo would be beneficial to us and our trade partner if the person we are getting back is right.

    • Joe SmithNo Gravatar says:

      Is there a reason to be condescending in your post? I know I know what the Bird right is. I’m not sure, but I think even though you use on of the exceptions, if you exceed the soft cap, you are paying $1 for every $1 over the cap your total salary equals. So say we sign OJ to a 4 year $18 million dollar contract, just to trade him away. The problem is we have to receive within (I think) 80% of the salary we send out. Obviously there are few ways around it (sending monies, etc). But guess what, we are still over the soft cap and therefore have to pay the luxury tax. This is why signing him just to trade him is possibly worst than just letting him walk.

  23. J FalkNo Gravatar says:

    I’m not being condescending. I’m stating my case on why I believe a sign and trade could work perfectly for us. My previous post explains how we would get back under(or close to) the luxury tax threshold…

    Also, isn’t the guy that owns our team a multi billionaire? I don’t think paying an extra 1 million dollars would hurt him that bad.

    • JBNo Gravatar says:

      At the moment, he’s not even a billionaire. But to answer your question, it would hurt a ton. The Grizzlies are one of the league’s lowest revenue teams in one of the league’s smallest markets. The franchise can’t afford to be a tax payer. Being a tax payer would bar it from receiving the millions upon millions of revenue sharing dollars that it needs to stay afloat. That’s not an issue for a team like the Lakers, which recently signed a multi-billion dollar local TV deal.

      • J FalkNo Gravatar says:

        Point taken; I still believe we can get something done that will allow us to stay under the tax threshold while also bringing in a much needed 3pt shooter. Whether it be signing and trading OJ for some true value or trading Cunningham and Pargo for someone…

  24. J FalkNo Gravatar says:

    http://www.commercialappeal.com/news/2012/jul/13/grizzlies-trade-talks-timberwolves-land-guard-sour/?CID=happeningnow

    Intriguing…Webster and Ellington have proven they can shoot the ball, but Johnson has potential to be a great player still. Atleast we’re trying to get something done.

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