The Memphis Grizzlies reached the Western Conference Finals in 2013 and had high hopes in 2014. However, center Marc Gasol missed 23 games with an MCL injury, the Grizzlies only earned the seventh-seed and were forced to play the second-seeded Oklahoma City Thunder. The Thunder defeated the Grizzlies in seven games in the first round.
Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders wonders if Gasol can stay healthy this season.
Without Gasol in the lineup the Grizzlies really struggled; fortunately they were able to stay in the hunt winning their final five games and securing the seventh seed in the west.
If Gasol misses time again, things could get problematic for the Grizzlies as many of the teams the Grizz were able to pass up last season got markedly better in the off-season.
Another worry for the Grizzlies is that Gasol is playing for the Spanish National team, who is hosting the FIBA World Cup in Spain. Assuming that tournament goes the distance for Spain, Gasol could be playing high level basketball well into mid-September, meaning he’ll have extra wear to worry and fatigue to worry about coming into training camp.
Of course, the story won’t be about Gasol’s health – all of the talk will surround his impending free agency.
Gasol went for 14.6 points, 7.2 rebounds, 3.6 assists, 1.3 blocks and 1.0 steals per game while shooting 47.3% from the field, 18.2% from beyond the arc and 76.8% from the free throw line in 59 games last season. In his career, he’s averaged 13.5 points, 7.9 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 1.5 blocks per game while shooting 51.2% from the field, 15.2% from beyond the arc and 74.9% from the free throw line.
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