Welcome to the lowest playoff team on this list. And you can’t really be all that surprised.
Look, Memphis is an absolute joy to watch in the playoffs. I loved how those guys beat the shit out of the pretty-boy Warriors through three games, with Mike Conley grit-and-grinding his way through a broken face and straight locking down the league’s MVP. They were really the only team in the West to give the champs any hint trouble and with a full-strength Conley or a Tony Allen who could make a jump shot, who knows who’d be hoisting the Larry O’Brien trophy right now?
During the regular season though?? Na, not all that interested in these guys.
I’m not going to apologize for skipping the 78 point slugfests where neither team hits a three pointer in the second half. I’m not going to apologize for skipping the Zach Randolph pit-bull act where he boxes out defenders to jump two inches for an offensive rebound. I’m not even going to apologize for tuning out the criminally underrated Conley who has shockingly yet to make an All-Star game and will be playing his way towards becoming the premier free agent guard of 2016. Simply put, these guys are just kinda boring on a night-in night-out 82 game basis.
Sure, the Grizz had a great summer. They retained the services of the best two-way center in the game (enjoy paying him at 35), found an excellent roll-to-the-rack/PER champion backup in Brendan Wright, and picked up arguably the most-Grizzly non-Grizzly homie in the league in Matt Barnes. Okay I can’t lie, I’m really excited for that last one. That honestly might be enough to bump these guys up a couple of spots now that I think about it.
There’s death, there’s taxes, and there’s the Grizzlies bruising their way to about 52 wins and a Western Conference playoff berth. There might be pundits pointing towards the rapidly improving Pelicans and penciling in playoff spots for (obviously) the Thunder and possibly for the Suns and the Jazz after their late-season defensive surge, but come on. Don’t kid yourself. Portland is falling out, Dallas is falling out, but Memphis is going to be right there in April. Bank on that shit.
In a league where the new CBA and massively inflated payrolls have finally put players and teams on the same page about signing shorter contracts and maintaining flexibility, it’s nice to see the kind of continuity and established roles and yearly solid results that the Grizz bring to the table. You could even be especially nostalgic for this after the summer break-ups of two of the league’s other big-time chemistry starting 5s in Indiana and Portland. But mostly, it just means that I know exactly who these guys are. And that is a strike against watchability.