Are the Grizzlies Ready for Title-Contender Talks?
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.