By: Nick Andre
The Memphis Grizzlies have been one of the most impressive teams in the NBA this season. After the Grit and Grind era officially ended last season, it was time to rebuild and look ahead of the future. But who thought that the future would work out this fast. Coach Taylor Jenkins has done a phenomenal job with this group of guys and they are looking to make noise in the playoffs this season.
Memphis may be a young team, but the way they play says otherwise. There’s a certain intensity level that this team brings every night to make a statement. They understand that teams will not view them as a contender as of yet. But they make sure that every team gets the best out of them every time they step out on the court.
Everyone knows that Ja Morant has been sensational and is on track for possibly winning ROY. But the rest of the supporting cast has been sensational. Jaren Jackson Jr is slowly emerging into an NBA All-Star by continuing to improve on his craft. Also, guys in Dillon Brooks, Brandon Clarke, Josh Jackson, and more. The chemistry that this team has built over the season is wonderful. And they need to continue the momentum during the final 8 games.
Despite the Grizzlies success through the year, after the All-Star Break was the beginning of a struggle. The team began the 2nd half of the season losing 5 straight games and the competition just seemed to get more difficult to handle for the young core. As Memphis started to struggle, teams in New Orleans, Portland, and Sacramento began to improve and make a huge push for that last spot.
With the NBA restart approaching us fast, not too many people are optimistic about the Grizzlies securing their playoff spot. Looking at their last 8 games, the team has one of the toughest schedules out of all 22 teams in the bubble.
The Grizzlies will have to face off against Damian Lillard and a very hungry Portland Trailblazers team to kick off the restart season. A few games later, they’ll face a Zion Williamson led New Orleans Pelicans who are deep with talent. Then they also play teams in Utah, Milwaukee, Boston, Toronto, etc. All of the teams Memphis will face are potentially teams who can go far in the playoffs. And they will definitely be in the way of their playoff hopes.
The young Grizzlies will need to play harder than ever if they’re going to keep their spot in the 8th seed. Although they struggled after the beginning of the All-Star break, there is nothing like a new beginning. This is a well-balanced team that can get production out of their players. As long as they can continue to play together and reduce their mistakes, they’ll be crawling themselves right into the playoffs.
Everyone anticipates a LeBron-Zion matchup in the first round. But the Grizzlies will not allow that to happen without a fight. That last spot in the Western Conference will be highly competitive, to say the least. Let’s see if the Memphis Grizzlies are truly made to destroy everyone else’s chances of making the playoffs.