For another perspective on today's match up between the Atlanta Hawks and the Memphis Grizzlies, we caught up with Grizzly Bear Blues editor Chris Faulkner.
Daniel Christian: Describe the importance of Mike Conley to this team. What makes him so affective? With Blake Griffin now likely out for the all star game, do you think Conley should be given that spot?
Chris Faulkner: Last season Grizzlies fans witnessed the birth of "as Conley goes so do the Grizzlies." He really blossomed into a new creature last year, and although Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol are shouldering a considerable amount of the load this season, Conley's been captain clutch for Memphis. Mike's got a really unique set of physical skills that includes athletic ambidexterity. He's writes with his right hand, but shoots a basketball with his left. You'll also see him go back to his right in closer range. That's a really unique quality that absolutely deserves exhibition on the All-Star stage.
DC: The Grizzlies traded for Jeff Green about a third of the way into the season. Has that been a worthy investment so far? Why or why not?
CF: Considering this is the Grizzlies window to compete for a title, the Grizzlies did the right thing in making the move for Green. He doesn't supply a lot in the way of long-range shooting, but he replaces two wings in Tayshaun Prince andQuincy Pondexter whose performances and roles had become very stagnant for the Grizzlies. Jeff Green opens up the playbook for Dave Joerger and gives Memphis an athletic scorer they've been missing for a long time.
DC: How do you handicap this team's chances against the loaded West? They obviously sit at the two seed now, but come playoff time seeding might not matter much in that conference. Which team do you think Memphis should be most scared of?
CF: I'd be really surprised if the Grizzlies didn't end up with a top 4 seed, even with the big boys out West. Teams that lean heavily on 3-pointers can give the Grizzlies some problems so there's a hefty list of really good teams that could qualify. That being said, Memphis has shown to have a nice handle on most of their Western competitors this year. But if you asked most Grizzlies fans they'd probably still be a bit spooked by the Spurs.