The Grizzlies surprised a lot of hoops heads when they traded their top scorer SF Rudy Gay to the Raptors on January 30th. To plug up the hole in his starting lineup Coach Lionel Hollins decided to move his usual 2-guard Tony Allen to the 3-spot and slide 5th-year, 6’3” combo guard Jerryd Bayless beside PG Mike Conley in the backcourt.
24-year-old Bayless was the 11th overall pick in the 2008 draft after spending just one year at the University of Arizona. Memphis is the streaky Bayless’ fourth team in five seasons. But Bayless will have a steady gig with the Griz if he continues to prove his worth.
After averaging approximately 17 minutes per game in November and December, Bayless’ minutes have increased to 24 per contest in January. While filling in for the injured Mike Conley and the departed Gaye, Bayless’ minutes jumped to 36.8 mpg over his last five games.
During this five-game stretch Bayless’ production soared to 16 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 6 apg and 1.2 spg while shooting 49% from the field. Bayless has season highs of 23 points, 7 boards (2X), 11 dimes and 3 steals (2X).
Newly acquired veteran Tayshaun Prince is expected to move into the Grizzlies’ starting group after a period of acclimation with his new franchise, system and teammates. But even when that occurs Bayless’ play of late will earn him beaucoup minutes off the Memphis bench.
Bayless is a value pickup at this juncture of the season, especially since he is owned in only 20 percent of leagues, and fantasy GMs can scoop him up for a bargain.