Have the Memphis Grizzlies Arrived or are They Still a Year Early?

The Memphis Grizzlies are a team I quite frankly would’ve never predicted to be as good as they have been over the past few years; When Ja Morant was drafted by the Memphis Grizzlies I was actually shocked being that the personnel the Grizzlies had under former head coach Lionel Hollins was that of a slow-paced offense with an elite defense spearheaded by defensive stalwarts Marc Gasol,Tony Allen, and Mike Conley who isn’t the same level of a defender he was 4-5 years ago due to age and constant injuries but he was a straight pest at staying in front of his man,fighting over screens, and chasing guards off the ball relentlessly. Ja Morant is a completely different guard than Mike Conley was for the Memphis Grizzlies; he is the driving force behind everything the Grizzlies embody where as Mike Conley was the sum of many parts on the formerly known Grit and Grind Memphis Grizzlies of the 2010’s; a team who could’ve brought a championship to Memphis if not for their misfortunes due to injuries of key rotational pieces.

If there is one thing we’ve learned from the Memphis Grizzlies over the past few years is that they have continued to be a hard-nosed basketball team even after the departures of Mike Conley,Tony Allen,Zach Randoph, and Marc Gasol who composed of the Big 4 of the Grit and Grind Grizzlies; and made the Grizzlies a perennial contender for years in the Western Conference. The Memphis Grizzlies have a new Big 4 of Ja Morant,Desmond Bane,Dillon Brooks, and Jaren Jackson Jr whom casual NBA fans are not aware of but anyone who has watched the Grizzlies over the past few seasons would recognize the sort of impact those 4 have had on the franchise dating back to when they eliminated Stephen Curry’s Golden State Warriors in the NBA Play-In Tournament the 2020-2021 NBA season.

If there is one team around the league who actually has the Golden State Warriors’s number it would be the Memphis Grizzlies; they possess a bad match-up for the Golden State Warriors since they are a young savvy team who’s biggest strength has become their depth. Take it from me a LeBron James fan who has grown accustomed to watching LeBron’s teams struggle when ever he is off the floor or misses a game since he has literally carried at least 60% of his respective teams’s offensive and defense burdens practically his entire 20-year career; and I’ll go ahead and say 20 and counting because unless he convinces himself the grass could be greener elsewhere when summer comes around and ups and requests a trade out of Los Angeles he will continue to carry much of the load even as he approaches the age of 38.

Back to my point, this Memphis Grizzlies team proved they can still win ball games without Ja Morant last season; they had many believing Ja Morant was actually even holding them back and it got to a point where the word “trade” and “Ja Morant” where even put in the same sentence; until the Memphis Grizzlies came back down to reality when no one on the team could buy a shot against the Golden State Warriors’s top ranked defense as the Semi Finals prolonged. After their defeat at the hands of the Golden State Warriors last season we learnt yes they can be a top 8 seed in the Western Conference without Ja Morant if it came down to it but to be a true title contender they need Ja Morant to lead the pack, something the rising superstar has embraced in his 4th season in the NBA.

The one glaring weakness for the Memphis Grizzlies is 3-point shooting; they have their fair share of shooters all the way from John Konchar,Desmond Bane,Dillon Brooks,Santi Aldama, to Tyus Jones who are all close to pure 3-point shooters; that’s leaving out Jaren Jackson Jr and Ja Morant himself who can both hit anywhere from 5 to 6 threes any given night but the question is will their inconsistent shooting derail them once again like it did against the Golden State Warriors in the 2022 NBA Playoffs? Will they capitalize on their inexperience much like the resurgent Boston Celtics who suffered a similar fate at the hands of the Golden State Warriors? A team who’s experience and championship pedigree proved to be too much for both the Grizzlies and Celtics two young teams oozing with young talent; but we all know talent means nothing without will,perseverance,and grit 3 areas where the Golden State Warriors simply outmatched the Memphis Grizzlies and Boston Celtics.

So the question is, are the Memphis Grizzlies ready to shoot for the 2023 NBA Championship this season? I would say yes but Jaren Jackson Jr is going to have to manage to stay out of foul trouble which hindered the Memphis Grizzlies against the Golden State Warriors since Jaren Jackson Jr is their best defender; and even though he’s no Kevin Garnett in the paint scoring the ball he’s still good for 15-30 points every night. Dillon Brooks and Desmond Bane will also have to be more consistent offensively as it seems Desmond Bane gets brainwashed much like Jayson Tatum whenever it’s time to compete against Golden State; he was absolutely horrible against the Warriors in the semi-finals last season and made you forget how fantastic he was in the regular season. It’s been thrown out there that Ja Morant could become the face of the NBA; I’ve never bought into it as I believe Jayson Tatum will be the player to carry the NBA forward for years to come; but after watching him will Memphis to a win by scoring 47 points in Game 2 against the Golden State Warriors in the Semi Finals; a game in which he had no choice but to take over I believe he got all the exposure he needed to capitalize this time around, till next time.

Author: D-NBA

Welcome to my website where I provide you insight on current topics going around the National Basketball Association. You can also check me out YouTube under D-NBA where I also produce content, thank you for visiting.

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