The Memphis Grizzlies have been one of the most successful teams in the National Basketball Association (NBA) since the 2002-2003 season. Starting out as a league worst team, the Grizzlies have slowly worked their way to the top, slowly gaining a reputation as one of the league's elite. In this article, we will look at some of the moves the Grizzlies have made to reach their current success, their current state, and talk about their plans for the future.
The Early Years: From 2001-2007
The Grizzlies were introduced in 2001 as an expansion team and had a rough start. They managed to make it to the playoffs in their first season, but were swept in the first round by the Los Angeles Lakers.
From that point on, the Grizzlies struggled to make the playoffs and would often find themselves near the bottom of the standings.
The Turning Point: The 2007 Draft
The 2007 NBA Draft is when the Grizzlies made the moves that would turn their fortunes around. The then-GM Jerry West selected Mike Conley Jr. and Rudy Gay with their first two picks. Conley and Gay had both already proven themselves as talented players and quickly assumed the roles of the team’s leading scorers
The Rise of the Grit ‘N’ Grind: From 2009-2017
The status of the Grizzlies changed dramatically in 2009 when the team brought in Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol from the Los Angeles Clippers and the Lakers, respectively. Randolph and Gasol quickly developed a chemistry on the court and became the flagship players that would lead the Memphis Grizzlies to their greatest successes.
The 2011 season saw the Grizzlies make the playoffs for the first time in their history, advancing to the Western Conference Finals before eventually losing to the Oklahoma City Thunder in seven games.
The Grizzlies continued their successes in the years that followed, setting a franchise record for wins in the 2012-2013 season and making the playoffs in each season through 2017, although they did not make it past the Western Conference Semifinals in any of those seasons.
The Recent Rebuild: 2017-2021
However, the 2017-2018 season saw the Grizzlies take a step back, finishing with a 22 -60 record and missing the playoffs. This was due in part to the departure of Randolph and Gasol, who left in free agency prior to the season.
The Grizzlies looked to rebuild their roster through the draft, selecting Jaren Jackson Jr., Ja Morant and Grayson Allen in the 2018, 2019 and 2019 respectively.
The new rebuild led by the 2018 trade deadline acquisition of Jae Crowder and the 2019 signing of veteran Jonas Valančiūnas paid off in the 2019-20 season, with the Grizzlies posting a 33-49 record and making the playoffs for the seventh time in eight seasons.
The Future: 2021 & Beyond
The Grizzlies have shown that they have the potential to be a contender in the NBA, and with the right pieces, they could make a deep playoff run.
The team is currently at the start of a new rebuild that includes young stars like Morant and Jackson Jr., as well as veterans like Valančiūnas and Crowder. With the solid mix of youth and experience, the Grizzlies could be at the start of a very successful era in Memphis.
The NBA is constantly changing, but the Memphis Grizzlies are setting themselves up for the future. They have an exciting young core that could lead them to thrive for many years.
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There’s plenty to look forward to from the Memphis Grizzlies in the coming years, and you can keep up to date with all the news on their website or through their social media channels.
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