So this season was lost by the Grizzlies, Conley went down early and it was downhill from there. Gasol expressed his frustration about the talent the Grizzlies were putting out
on the floor and trade rumors came up. Do not write the Grizzlies off just yet though, they’ll surely be back next season if they can do 2 things which are draft Luka Doncic and not move Conley and Gasol. Did I mention they found a gem in the draft in Dillon Brooks who has shown flashes of being a potential starting small forward next season for them.
The season is finished for the Grizzlies but one bright spot was the 36 point outing by Dillon Brooks against Oklahoma City. Brooks has good size and can play the shooting guard and small forward. Not the most athletic wing but he does not shy away from contact and knows how to use his weight to muscle his way in the paint and finish at the rim. He’s 6’6 220 and in this small ball era where wings are sometimes used as stretch 4’s Brooks fits the bill as the Grizzlies starting small forward next season.
The Grizzlies do have a possibly top 5 pick, they could try and draft themselves a power forward and their are a couple options at the spot which are Jaren Jackson Jr,Michael Porter Jr, and Marvin Bagley or they can go after a guard like Doncic who can play the point guard,shooting guard, and small forward. Doncic projects to be the only lottery pick at the shooting guard position and it is a position of need for the Grizzlies, Wayne Selden was solid for them this season but he is no Luka Doncic. With that said Luka Doncic has received praise from all-stars such as Goran Dragic and Kristaps Porzingis, both believe Doncic is doing things never done in the Euro-league and see Doncic becoming something special in the NBA.
Me personally I’ve watched some highlights and I am quite impressed. He has a really good handle and great size for an NBA wing, he’s got that confidence in him to be a floor leader and finish out games if he needs to. He has confidence in his jumpshot and is a phenomenal play-maker, athleticism is not mouth dropping but he can elevate for dunks and reminds me of a right handed Manu Ginobili. How does that bode for the Grizzlies? Well they need a 3rd option behind Conley and Gasol, maybe Brooks can be that 3rd option or Doncic could be the 3rd piece they need to get back amongst the West’s elite.
If Conley and Gasol had both been on the court for at least 60-70 of Memphis’s games they would have likely made the playoffs and would not be on the outside looking in. It’s all about retooling just like the Utah Jazz did, yes they lost Gordon Hayward in free agency but stuck gold picking up Donovan Mitchell with the 13th pick in the 2017 NBA Draft last summer. Donovan Mitchell is in the running for rookie of the year this season and with Gobert coming back from injury mid season the Jazz were able to go on a surge and managed to finish with the 4th seed in the Western Conference. The Jazz are anchored by their franchise player Rudy Gobert and now found themselves another cornerstone in Donovan Mitchell, everyone saw them bottoming out after losing Hayward and Hill in free-agency and they’ll be better off going forward with Mitchell and Gober leading the way assuming Utah does everything possible to keep them both in Utah uniforms.
The same method should apply to the Memphis Grizzlies, why start all over by trading Gasol and Conley when you can pick up a gem in this draft and get right back to the top? The Grizzlies would not only have 1 cornerstone but 2 in Conley and Gasol and get to possibly add a 3rd in the draft this summer, that isn’t including Dillon Brooks who is primed for a breakout season next year if given a bigger role. The coaching situation might change, J.B Bickerstaff took over after David Fizdale was fired after conflicts with Marc Gasol. Marc felt like Fizdale was trying to utilize him as a scorer solely and that is not what makes Marc the perennial all-star he has become over the course of his career.
The grit and grind Grizzlies is over after the Grizzlies passed on bringing back long tenured Grizzlies Zach Randolph and Tony Allen who both played a huge part in giving the Grizzlies that identity. I think they should bring back J.B simply because he recognized Dillon Brook’s potential and has given him the opportunity to make a name for himself. Applause for Memphis Grizzlies general manager for staying loyal to his franchise players Marc Gasol and Mike Conley, letting it be known they are not looking to move either. Choosing Gasol over Fizdale showed the Grizzlies prioritize keeping their franchise player happy despite the subpar season.
To conclude maybe the Grizzlies blow it all up this off-season but I would not do that what so ever as I believe this team can get back to the top of the Western Conference next season. Marc and Mike share a brotherhood and have incredible chemistry, with those two in the lineup at the very least the Grizzlies are a playoff team. They have a nucleus of young talent in Ivan Rabb,Deyonta Davis,Marshon Brooks, Ben McLemore, and Jarrell Martin which could make for a formidable bench. The starting lineup could be potent with Conley,Doncic,Brooks,Green,and Gasol next season. Every player in that lineup can stretch the floor,pass,shoot, and defend and in the NBA it’s almost a must to have players who can do more then just one thing. Hopefully the Grizzlies take a page from the Jazz’s book and retool themselves into contenders next season.