Zach Randolph to come off bench for Grizzlies - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Zach Randolph to come off bench for Grizzlies

(Source: WMC Action News 5) (Source: WMC Action News 5)

Zach Randolph could be a contender for this year’s NBA Sixth Man of the Year award.

Grizzlies Head Coach David Fizdale announced Wednesday that Z-Bo will be coming off the bench for the 2016-17 season, citing pacing issues with Marc Gasol to be one reason for the switch.

Fizdale said he went to Randolph before announcing the decision, and the big man was OK with it.

“I feel like I can be a starter, of course, and carry the team like I did last year,” Randolph said. “If coach wants me to play 10 minutes, I’ll play the hardest 10 minutes, 20, 30, whatever you call upon me, I’m going to do.”

“He’s been incredible about the whole situation,” Fizdale told reporters after the decision. “And like I told him, ‘Most likely, no one is going to pay you to be a starter from here on out. So let’s audition you for what you can be for the rest of your career.’ And it really clicked with him. We’re going to go after Sixth Man of the Year. I want to highlight the hell out of him in that second unit.”

The switch to JaMychal Green will allow the Grizzlies to roll out a younger, quicker starting lineup while having the superb rim protection of Marc Gasol still available. It will also allow Randolph to captain the team’s second unit—something that has been a bit of a weakness for the Grizzlies.

Randolph came off the bench 15 times in 2015-16, but because of a record-breaking amount of injuries for the Grizz, Randolph was mostly forced into the starting lineup.

“Last year played a big part in preparing myself for it,” Ranolph said. “It’s basically just splitting up, having power off the bench, scoring off the bench, and working it like that.”

Z-Bo averaged 15.3 points and 7.8 rebounds in 68 games (53 starts) last season. By reducing the 35-year-old power forward’s minutes, the team could help keep him fresh for a postseason run.

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