Grizzlies Becoming Western Conference Powerhouse?

Are the Grizzlies Ready for Title-Contender Talks?

11/17/12 in NBA   |   Andrew_Ericksen   |   230 respect

Nov 16, 2012; Memphis, TN, USA; Memphis Grizzlies forward Rudy Gay (22) celebrates after scoring against the New York Knicks at the FedEx Forum. Memphis defeated New York 105-95. Mandatory Credit: Nelson Chenault-US PRESSWIREThey’ve only reached 50 wins in a season once, only advanced to the second round of the playoffs once, and have only once been seeded better than 5th in the Western Conference playoffs.  Now I’m going to tell you why all of those numbers are about to change.
 
1. West in Limbo
 
The Western Conference is in the midst of a crazy identity crisis right now.  Dwight and Nash in LA, Harden in Houston, and does anyone recognize the Mavericks new starting lineup?
 
Right now, there are three playoff-caliber teams in the West that still maintain the bulk of their lineup from the 2010-2011 season.  These teams are the Spurs, Thunder and Grizzlies.
 
The Spurs have toggled with some supporting players and the Thunder just lost their third most dependable player, but what changes have the Grizzlies made?  While the West has been constantly shuffling with trades the last couple seasons, Memphis has been spending time developing chemistry with the players they’ve held on to.
 
2. Not Giving Up
 
Without Rudy Gay in 2011, the Grizzlies were able to knock off the top-seeded Spurs, then as Gay led the team in the playoffs last year, the Grizzlies fell short.  Gay and Zach Randolph, the team’s two best scorers, have been on different pages during a lot of their three years together, and after not being able to reach the second round last year, there was a lot of speculation that the Memphis front office would attempt to move one of the two forwards, most likely Gay.
 
But the Grizzlies opened up the 2012-2013 campaign with the same starting 5 they carried the bulk of the last two seasons and so far, both Randolph and Gay have flourished.  Randolph has recorded a double-double in each of Memphis’s games, averaging 17 and 14 on the season, while Gay has been filling the stat sheet and leading the team with 20 points per game.
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