Grizz Insider: Zach Randolph sets return
There's a real concern about starting point guard Mike Conley playing too many minutes, which is why the Grizzlies hope first-round draft choice Josh Selby continues to develop as he has of late.
Fellow rookie Jeremy Pargo, who has been out of college for a couple of seasons and playing in Europe, had been the backup point guard. But because Pargo wasn't getting the Grizzlies' into their offense quick enough and because his on-ball defense was suspect, coach Lionel Hollins turned to Selby, who's getting used to coming off the bench.
"I just watch and see how the game is flowing and keep it at the same intensity when I get in," said Selby, who had four points in Wednesday night's 93-87 victory at New Orleans before the team headed to Detroit for a Friday night date with the Pistons. "The biggest adjustment has been sitting on the bench for three or four games before getting a chance to play. That's never happened to me before. I have to get used it."
Conley said Selby has done "a good job of controlling the tempo," and Selby said Conley's role as a tutor has been helpful.
"Mike is teaching me how to be a pure point guard, he's teaching me how to pick my spots, how to run a team," said Selby, who would be just a college sophomore this season had he remained at Kansas.
Injured Grizzlies forward Zach Randolph, who has been on crutches with his right knee braced after sustaining a partially torn MCL, will began rehab this week, according to Fred Azar, an orthopedic surgeon who's the Grizzlies' team physician.
Azar thinks Randolph's MCL injury is a Grade 2, and he decided against surgery. With rehab and conditioning, Randolph's target date for return is at Toronto on March 2. He would have missed 31 games, almost half of the lockout-shortened 66-game season.
"We're pretty sure he's going to come back this season playing with a protective brace," Azar said of the 30-year-old Randolph, who reported to the team this season in the best shape of his career. "But we won't let him go back until the MCL is completely healed. The key thing for him is staying in shape with his conditioning as he does the rehab simultaneously. We expect him to go back to playing with a protective brace."
The Griz might have made a trade to get inside players to fill the injury gaps left by Randolph and reserve forward Darrell Arthur, who's out for the year with a torn Achilles, but Memphis still believes it needs better outside shooting.
It's why the team has explored trade talks with the Nets to send guard O.J. Mayo to New Jersey for fourth-year guard Anthony Morrow. Morrow will earn $4 million this year and is guaranteed $4 million next season. Mayo is making $5.6 this season -- the final year of his rookie contract. He has a $7.4 million qualifying offer for the 2012-13 campaign.
Morrow, 26, is a career 45-percent shooter from 3-point range.
The Nets have also offered point guard Jordan Farmar, a draft pick and cash in a separate package for Mayo. Farmar's contract pays him $4 million this season. He owns a player option at $4.25 million for the 2012-13 season.
The Grizzlies haven't discussed a contract extension with Mayo, who has hit 11-of-17 3's in his last four games.
Memphis now has won four straight games, its longest winning streak of the season.
"As I told our team, this is the way we were four years ago," coach Lionel Hollins said after Wednesday's win. "We weren't winning a lot of games, but we were battling and trying to get better every day, regardless of win or loss, and that's where they are now. You have to honor and respect that."
QUOTE TO NOTE
"Marc can fit in with anybody. If the guy wants to win, then it's good with Marc. He's a good teammate. I would have liked to have played with Marc." -- Grizzlies coach Lionel Hollins on center Marc Gasol mixing chemistry with new acquisitions Marreese Speights and Quincy Pondexter.
PG Mike Conley, like F Rudy Gay and C Marc Gasol, is helping to pick up the scoring slack. He had 18 points and 10 assists vs. the Hornets, giving him averages of 16 points and eight assists during the Grizzlies' four-game winning streak.
C Marc Gasol had 22 points and 11 rebounds, heeding Griz coach Lionel Hollins' words of advice.
"Marc is playing the way I thought he would be, even if Zach (Randolplh) was healthy," Hollins said. "I told Marc he has to stop being the facilitator all the time and get a little more selfish when he has the ball."
G O.J. Mayo had 16 points on 6-of-12 shooting and outscored the Hornets' bench by himself despite all the trade rumors, which never seem to go away.