The Memphis Grizzlies were the third Southwest Division team to acquire a big name this season, <a title=”Jeff Green to Memphis Grizzlies” href=”http://espn.go.com/nba/story/_/id/12146339/new-orleans-pelicans-now-part-jeff-green-memphis-grizzlies-deal” target=”_blank”>obtaining Jeff Green from the Boston Celtics in a three-team deal.
The Southwest Division had previously seen two of their teams make big moves in order to improve their playoff position, Rajon Rondo being acquired by the Dallas Mavericks and Josh Smith being signed by the Houston Rockets.
Now the Grizzlies fall into that category following their move to pick up former top five pick Jeff Green.
Grizzlies’ Benefits from Going “Green”
While Jeff Green’s numbers don’t particularly jump out at you either, it is important to note that he was the first option on a talent lacking Celtics team.
A look at his advanced stats shows Green stacks up quite well against the former Grizzlies forwards.
This means that the 6-foot-9 forward won’t have to be the primary produce for the offense, rather he can play within the system and let the offense come to him.
The move for Green also sets up Memphis quite nicely moving forward, giving the Grizzlies a younger forward option over Prince and more talented forward option over Pondexter.
Spurs Must Reload
Jeff Green’s trade to the Grizzlies also marks the third Southwest Division team to make a major move, which is where the effects to the Spurs start to come into play.
San Antonio, ravaged by injuries, his struggled to keep up with the teams in the division that have made moves.
The Spurs are currently three-and-a-half games back of the division lead, held by Houston and Memphis, and three games back of the closely trailing Dallas Mavericks.
While many San Antonio fans find it tough to accept the notion it is time for change, especially considering this same roster won the NBA title a year ago, it is necessary if the Spurs are to make a run at the title this post-season.
Even if a trade does not end up being in San Antonio’s best interest, it would be foolish to completely ignore the idea. The Spurs should at the very least explore the trade or free agent market.
San Antonio also has many assets to do so, potentially even more than the three Southwest Division teams above them who have already completed moves.
Nov 22, 2013; Memphis, TN, USA; San Antonio Spurs shooting guard Marco Belinelli (3) lays the ball up against Memphis Grizzlies small forwardMike Miller
(13) during the second quarter at FedExForum. Mandatory Credit: Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports
I offered up some trade possibilities last week that would work well for San Antonio and help answer a few questions about the future.
Speaking of the future, there is another burning question that needs to be answered pertaining to Spurs star Kawhi Leonard.
Can Leonard be a first option on a championship contender?
The former San Diego State University star has certainly shown that on occasion, taking over for the Spurs in various games during the season. The important piece here is figuring out whether he can do it on a consistent basis, with no Duncan, Ginobili, or even Parker on the team.
San Antonio has certainly struggled without their young star, only 8-8 without him this season. However, that really does not answer the question.
If it turns out Leonard does need some more solid players around him, a trade, or even a free agent acquisition, could potentially solve the present problem of bettering the Spurs roster and the future question of creating a sustainable team around Leonard.
The San Antonio Spurs need to make a move following the Jeff Green trade. That move does not have to be bringing in a big name, but, it is apparent that a move to solidify the roster would be in the team’s best interest in an ever-improving Southwest Division.
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While it is possible that Grizzlies, Mavericks, or Rockets could fall off in the future because of their moves this season, the numbers suggest otherwise.
Additionally, the New Orleans Pelicans, the last team in the Southwest, are projected to be a future powerhouse if the team’s great development around superstar Anthony Davis continues to hold form.
If the Spurs stand pat, they could be in for a long second half of the season, or even worse, trouble in subsequent seasons.
What do you think about Jeff Green’s move to the Memphis Grizzlies? Should the Spurs be concerned by the latest move by a Southwest Division contender? Is it time to make a move? Let us know in the comments!