After a couple of 20+ win seasons the Grizzlies surprised the league with a 40-42 record and flirted with a playoff spot. The majority of last year’s team is coming back with a couple of nice additions. The Grizzlies are loaded with young talent and could develop into a pretty decent team.
Notable Newcomers – Tony Allen, Xavier Henry, Acie Law, Greivis Vasquez
Tony Allen came over from the Celtics where he felt “overshadowed” by some of their veteran All-Stars. Memphis is hoping Allen will stand out as a major contributor and help shore up the Grizzlies defense.
Acie Law will be a player to watch this year for Memphis. Currently he’s slated to be Mike Conley’s backup, but could see significant playing time if he continues to play as well as he has in the preseason.
Xavier Henry and Greivis Vasquez haven’t seen much playing time due to contract disputes and injuries. The Grizzlies plan is for both players to come off the bench when needed.
The Grizzlies have a ton of young talented players. This will be their greatest strength this year, but could very well be their biggest weakness. Their core nucleus of young talent was the key to their turnaround last season. Rudy Gay, OJ Mayo, Mike Conley, Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph have an avg age of 24 years old. But with youth comes inexperienced players who are still developing. This team has room to mature into better basketball players, but that takes time.
Rudy’s Max Contract
This offseason the Grizzlies had a huge decision to make. Give Rudy Gay max contract money or cut the cord and move on? They ended up giving Gay a 5-year, $84 million contract. Short term this was a good move. Memphis nearly made the playoffs last season and could make the playoffs this year with a slight improvement. If they wouldn’t have resigned Rudy, then it would look as if they were starting over again. Long term this deal is a huge question mark. At this point in his career, Gay is considered a player with major upside. Unfortunately he just hasn’t played like a “max contract” type player. The Grizzlies are a small market team with a lot invested in Rudy Gay. He’ll definitely be a deciding factor as to whether the Grizzlies improve again this year and for years to come.
Projected Record 46-36
The Grizzlies have enough talent to compete for a playoff spot and with so much youth you have to think they will continue to become better players. Rudy Gay and Zach Randolph are gonna have to step up and lead this team to a playoff birth. Both make way too much money to let the Grizzlies make a push for the playoffs and then flame out at the end of the year. If both Gay and Randolph can mature and continue to improve, then Memphis will be knocking on the playoff door yet again. With 46 wins it will be a toss up as to whether they make the playoffs, but at least the fans will have something to root for the last few weeks of the season.
– Jacob –