A huge part of the Grizzlies' improved play this season has been attributable to a better bench. In past seasons, their offense has dropped off a cliff once the starters stepped off the floor. But with Jerryd Bayless, Wayne Ellington and Marreese Speights stepping up, they've managed to mitigate the damage and, in some cases, add to leads or chip away at deficits.
That depth is about to get better with the addition of Darrell Arthur, back from a small, displaced leg fracture injury. From the Memphis Commercial-Appeal:
Grizzlies forward Darrell Arthur is expected to make his regular-season debut Friday night but insists he was ready the first time he participated in practice.
Doctors and the head athletic trainer cleared Arthur for contact workouts last week. He stepped onto the court and soon caught a lob pass from teammate Josh Selby. When Arthur threw down the alley-oop dunk, he removed any doubts about his recovery.
"A lot of guys were telling me to take my time and don't rush," Arthur said. "But I went and caught a lob from Josh Selby and everybody was like [darn!]. That's the type of player I am. I'm going to make those athletic plays. That's how I knew I was ready."
Arthur's athleticism is helpful, but he also developed a consistent mid-range jumper off the pick-and-pop two years ago that really helps the Grizzlies with floor spacing. He's a versatile offensive weapon and a tough defender inside. His return legitimately helps the Grizzlies be a better team.
Memphis has been playing well, and the roster is coming together in a consistent, well-rounded way that will keep them a strong candidate for the Western Conference title.