Greivis Vasquez made his first return to Memphis in a Hornets uniform on Saturday night at FedExForum. Vasquez was an integral part of the Grizzlies playoff run last year at the backup point guard position, but a lack of depth in the front court led Memphis to trade him for Quincy Pondexter (or Q-Pon as we like to call him). In his return, Vasquez finished with 14 points and a team high six assists. The Grizzlies are now playing rookie Josh Selby at the backup point guard spot, and he only filled up one column of the stat sheet with 3 turnovers. While there is no doubt that Coach Hollins will get better play out of his young point guard, Vasquez’s absence is becoming more noticeable with every game. Though Vasquez contributed in many ways to the success of last year’s team, here are the three things Memphis misses most about his play:
1. His Production:
Vasquez had proven himself a reliable backup point guard in his short one year tenure as a Grizzly, which is something this year’s team needs. He played in 70 games last season, and was a steadfast backup for Mike Conley. While his averages last season do not jump off the page, Vasquez was a solid role player for Memphis, doing whatever it took to win. With Pargo and Selby vying for backup minutes you never know what type of production you are going to get game in and game out.
2. His experience:
Coach Hollins has decided to go with rookie Selby at the backup point guard spot, after Jeremy Pargo played himself out of the rotation. Selby has the potential to be a solid player, but he needs more experience which is something Vasquez already has. When you compare the two guards, you will see that Vasquez is playoff tested and has played in numerous big games during last year’s playoffs. None bigger than Game 6 against the Spurs when he played key minutes after Mike Conley went to the bench with two early fouls. Perhaps if Vasquez was still here Conley would be able to get more of a rest and not have to play so many minutes (Conley has played over 40 minutes in three of the Grizzlies last five games).
3. His heart:
Heart is something that no stat can measure. It is something that you can only see, and Vasquez has a lot of it. “Vasquez has a big heart. He is fearless,” Coach Hollins said about his former player. There were several times during last year’s run that Vasquez was making hustle plays, grabbing loose balls, and taking charges to help his team win. He is a true grit and grinder hustling on every play and giving maximum effort every game. Even though this team is full of players with heart, this is what they miss the most from Vasquez.
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CJ Hurt covers the Grizzlies for MemphiSport. Follow him @churtj09 for live tweets from FedExForum.