Sport Grizzlies mostly relying on internal improvement, which is quite alright
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NBC Sports’ Dan Feldman is grading every team’s offseason based on where the team stands now relative to its position entering the offseason. A ‘C’ means a team is in similar standing, with notches up or down from there.
The Grizzlies were way ahead of schedule last season. Picked to finish last in the Western Conference, Memphis was eighth when play got suspended for coronavirus. The Grizzlies narrowly missed the playoffs, losing a dramatic play-in game to the Trail Blazers.
“I can smile on my face, go home and know that these guys – the first words they said when we got in the locker room was, ‘We have a lot of work to do,'” Memphis coach Taylor Jenkins. “And that was through their mouths before I even spoke. So, that’s why I love this group.”
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There’s plenty to love.
The Grizzlies’ combination of youth (average age of 24.1*) and success (34-39 record) has been matched by just four other teams in NBA history:
- 1977-78 Bucks
- 2008-09 Trail Blazers
- 2009-10 Thunder
- 2010-11 Thunder
*Weighted for playing time, using a player’s age on Feb. 1
Gallery: 2020 NBA first-round mock draft: Minnesota selects... (Sportsnaut)
Memphis will mostly count on its young players showing the dedication Taylor spoke of. The Grizzlies followed their surprisingly strong andseason with a quiet offseason.
They(four years, $35 million), (four years, $9 million) and (three years, $6 million). That’s a lot of team control over a few .
Dorktown: ‘Free throw defense’ is impossible, unless you’re the 2001-02 Grizzlies
During the 2001 holiday season, NBA teams magically lost the ability to make their free throws against the Memphis Grizzlies.Yet in the Grizzlies’ next game a couple days later in Miami, their opponent, the Heat, once again missed over half their free throws (6-15). This is extremely rare territory.
Memphis also showed savvy in the draft. The GrizzliesNo. 30 pick for two future second-rounders and taking ‘s negative-value contract. Then, Memphis surrendered another future second-rounder to trade up from No. 40 for No. 35 pick .
With the Nos. 30 and 35 picks, the Grizzlies got the Nos. 21 and 23 players on. That’s strong value. Bane and Tillman – tough, physical, smart – should fit right in with Memphis’ collection of young players.
is the , and draws plenty of attention. But this is a . Keeping Melton especially and adding Bane and Tillman only adds to the depth.
Acquired just before the last trade deadline,was supposed to be the big acquisition once he got healthy. But he and are both still out. The bar for making the playoffs in the Western Conference almost certainly next season. The Grizzlies could easily take a step back.
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But that’s not so bad ahead of a draft that appears strong at the top. Memphis already has a good and growing young base. Another high pick would raise the Grizzlies’ ceiling into the stratosphere.
Or maybe they’ll once again defy expectations and compete for the playoffs until the very end this season. As Taylor said, these players have winning attitudes.
Memphis’ future, one way or another, is bright. Of course, we knew that even before this offseason.
Offseason grade: C+
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Ja Morant picked up where he left off: 20 points, 11 assists (VIDEO) .
In just his second season he is a master of the pick-and-roll.It’s just the preseason, but Morant put up an impressive 20 points with 11 assists on the Minnesota Timberwolves Sunday night in a 107-105 Grizzlies win. Morant was a master of the pick-and-roll, watch him consistently pin the trail man on his back, then find space to go right at Karl-Anthony Towns and make a play.