The ‘Grind Era’ Memphis Grizzlies have been somewhat successful for a while. They’ve got some of the greatest fans in the league, and their home, FedEx Forum a.k.a. “The Grindhouse,” is a nightmare for visiting teams.
Regardless, after a battle of epic proportions that gave us an NBA Playoffs record four straight overtime games with the Oklahoma City Thunder, Memphis’ “grit n grind” fell short and eventually prompted a heartbreaking first-round exit.
This is what their last four playoffs look like:
- 2010 – 11: Lost West Semis vs. Oklahoma City Thunder (4-3).
- 2011 – 12: Lost First Round vs. Los Angeles Clippers (4-3).
- 2012 – 13: Lost West Finals vs. San Antonio Spurs (4-0).
- 2013 – 14: Lost First Round vs. Oklahoma City Thunder (4-3). (Note: If it wasn’t for “The Reggie Jackson Game”, the Grizzlies would’ve moved on to the West Semis).
They’ve been good, just not good enough.
By no means should said outings be seen as a failed seasons nor reasons to panic around the organisation. As a team who’s been overwhelmed with injuries, the Grizzlies’ have just been unlucky.
Having no way to predict said injuries, teams have to brace themselves by getting deeper. Depth provides options to replace/protect starters with little to no damage to their offensive/defensive schemes. Depth is achieved by wisely spending the money you’ve got (see: 1999 – 2014 San Antonio Spurs).
In the super-team era, every city wants to have a Big Three on their roster. Teams are making it the ordinary to pay huge amounts of cash to keep players, eventually destroying their depth.
How deep are the Grizzlies?
It’s the deepest they’ve been in the “Grind Era.”
Their starters are loaded with talent.
- C: Marc Gasol.
- PF: Zach Randolph (Player option at $16.5 million).
- SF: Tayshaun Prince (FYI: He just had the worst season of his career posting an 8.6 PER, good enough for 153rd place out of 154 players who played 50+ games this season).
- SG: Courtney Lee (I don’t know why he’s listed as the starter over Tony Allen. Let’s go ahead and call it a typo).
- PG: Mike Conley
Their bench is sort of a defensive powerhouse.
- C: Kosta Koufos (102 points per 100 possessions).
- PF: Ed Davis (104 points per 100 possessions).
- PF: Jon Leuer (104 points per 100 possessions).
- SF: Mike Miller
- SF: James Johnson (100 points per 100 possessions).
- SF: Quincy Pondexter
- SG: Tony Allen (102 points per 100 possessions).
- SG: Jamaal Franklin
- PG: Beno Udrih
- PG: Nick Calathes
With an overall defensive rating of 104.6 they’re not the best ranked team in the league. However, they allowed 95.6 points per game last season, good enough for third fewest in the league.
Who should they target this offseason?
Their hands are somewhat tied since the Grizzlies have $64 million committed for the 2014-15 season which is about $1 million over the projected cap space of $63 million. Zach Randolph’s got a player option for the next season and if he exercises said option, the Grizzlies could be stepping into $15 million to spend. They’d also be parting ways with one of their two best players so they might want to get the money elsewhere (see: Tayshaun Prince).
Earlier on draft day, several sources reported on trade talks developing between the Toronto Raptors and the Grizzlies. If the trade were to take place, Memphis would’ve sent Prince’s contract and the 22nd pick in the draft to Toronto. The Raptors would ship John Salmons and the 37th pick in the Draft.
If the trade took place, which it didn’t, it would’ve been exclusively to dump Prince’s contract. John Salmons and the 37th pick were not valuable enough for the Grizzlies, but dumping Prince sure was. However, the trade didn’t take place.
2014 Draft Grade.
With the 22nd pick in the 2014 NBA Draft, the Memphis Grizzlies selected Jordan Adams.
Jordan Adams: 19, SG, UCLA.
You could say a 19-year-old is of great help for the eighth oldest team in the NBA. This might not be the case. The Grizzlies’ll have to stash him and start developing him from scratch. Of course, he’s not Chris Smith, but Abrams will most-likely come off the bench and take on Courtney Lee’s (28) and/or Tony Allen’s (32) rest minutes.
Jordan Adams averaged 15.7 ppg on 55/35/83 percent shooting splits, right in the meaty part of the curve. He’s big enough to take contact and finish but he’s not the best decision-maker out there.
This is a list of players that were still on the board while they drafted Abrams.
- Rodney Hood: SF, Duke. An amazing guy to take over Prince’s minutes. Of course he’s not becoming a starter in his first season but at least he’s someone reliable.
- Shabazz Napier: PG, UConn. FYI: LeBron James is driving the Napier bandwagon.
- C. J. Wilcox: SG, Washington. Not the youngest nor the biggest defensive threat in the draft. He’s considered a prolific scorer with a true shooting percentage of 60. Offense, just what the Grizzlies need.
- Kyle Anderson: PG, UCLA. A point guard who’s able to create offence and is a regular shooter whose worst/best case scenario is John Salmons/Toni Kukoc respectively (according to CBSSports’ Matt Moore).
Who’s driving the Jordan Adams’ bandwagon?
Overall Grade: E-
With the new TV deal coming on 2017, players and their agents are looking to calculate free-agency so they’re able to get a new contract with a higher cap than those stuck in a previous contract.We can’t be sure if the Grizzlies screwed up their offseason opportunities (although everything suggests that they did). Remember, since the offseason’s just getting started, every move matters and could trigger something way bigger.