Grizzlies In Limbo Between Contention And Rebuild

The Grizzlies are an interesting franchise to keep an eye on moving forward this season and beyond, as they are somewhat in a state of limbo – not quite rebuilding but not close to being a serious contender either – writes Mark Giannotto of The Commercial Appeal.

To be sure, Memphis had a relatively nice offseason. They drafted a potential future franchise cornerstone in Jaren Jackson, they signed Kyle Anderson to the full non-taxpayer mid-level exception, and traded for veteran guard Garrett Temple. By midseason, all three could possibly join Mike Conley and Marc Gasol in the Grizzlies’ starting lineup.

Yet, as Conley says, because of the new pieces learning to fit in and difficulty of the Western Conference, it may turn out to be an “awkward” year in Memphis.

“This season, expectations are still try to be that playoff team, that team that comes out and really makes it tough on everybody. But it is an awkward year with so many teams getting so much better [with] different acquisitions they made in the offseason.”

In addition to adding Jackson, Anderson, and Temple, the Grizzlies also traded away relative disappointments Ben McLemore, Deyonta Davis and Jarell Martin, while adding rookie Jevon Carter, a potential throwback-type player to the Grit ‘N’ Grind era.

Ultimately, it’s probably still going to be difficult for Memphis to make the playoffs in the West, even assuming a 22-win improvement from last year that would see Memphis literally double the amount of victories from a season ago. As such, a rebuild is probably closer to fruition than title contention.

As Giannotto notes, only seven players (not including Gasol’s player option) are signed beyond this season, and only rookie Dillon Brooks had a meaningful role on last year’s team. Accordingly, one would think that most teams would begin rebuilding this season. Only time will tell if the Grizzlies choosing to do otherwise was the right call.

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21 thoughts on “Grizzlies In Limbo Between Contention And Rebuild

  1. Richard Hangslow

    Might as well get a jump start on the rebuild cause GS has it on lock down for the next 4ish years.

    • Dionis

      Oh please Golden State is going down this coming season. Houston will be champions.

      • David D

        Rockets lost good players, solid defenders to free agency; and that Carmelo/D’antoni combo worked together so well in NYC. CP’s history with injuries ‘late’ is a concern; and he’s another year older.

        It’s a possibility things could go sideways in a hurry.

      • bravesfan88
        bravesfan88

        Have to disagree, I think GS has 1 more title coming their way..I think the 2019-2020 season will be the year up for grabs, especially after GS loses Klay among other role players..

        Losing Ariza and Luc will have a much bigger impact than just their counting stats would suggest. Those two, plus Capella, and Paul to an extent, allowed others to primarily focus their efforts offensively.

        Now, if Houston is able to go out and acquire a solid 3 and D wing, then I might change my mind, but until then, I think they lack the defensive prowess to secure a title..

        Houston knows they need to replace those two, hence their recent trade proposals, so all we can do is wait and see what their future holds.

        If I was Houston, I’d be targeting anyone aND everyone fitting that mold, from the likes of D.Carroll to Justice Winslow..Although, Winslow could put them over the top, I HIGHLY doubt they’d be able to pry him away from Miami..They’d have to take on Waiters contract, plus, they’d have to trade their next 1st rounder..

        Even to acquire T.Johnson they’re going to have to do the same, trade their 1st and most likely take on Waiters’ deal as well…

        If they cannot get their 3 and D guy, maybe they can see about getting Faried, Gibson, or another high energy, defense first, 4 to add to their bench..

        Either way, they’ve taken a major step backwards defensively from last year, and that defensive intensity and versatility was exactly what helped them push GS to the brink of defeat last season..Without that tough mindset, they will not win a title, it’s really that simple…

      • Dodgethis

        Didn’t you say the same thing about the rockets last year? And the Cavs? And the spurs? And the thunder? Go back to nap time.

  2. Chandler Parson’s contract keeps them from rebuilding. Marc Gasol will be free agent next summer.

  3. x%sure

    Same thing could have been written last offseason. MGasol is due for injury,
    which is not too bad because I doubt JJJ can play forward.

    They should do better than collapse at least, with Conley, Anderson and Temple in & Evans out. Maybe Parsons stays available.

    • bravesfan88
      bravesfan88

      To dissapoint means he has to fail to meet one’s level of expectations..I don’t think anyone realistically expects JJ Jr. to set the league on fire in year one..

      What exactly do you expect from such a young and raw, yet talented JJ Jr. in his rookie season??…If you expect him to step in and right away be this franchise’s savior, as a rookie, I have to believe you get disappointed quite frequently..

      Jackson Jr. has all the talent and tools a coach could ever want in a player, but he’s also very raw. He needs at least two years to develop, but once he does, he’s going to be a very exciting player. He’s a young Serge Ibaka, yet he already has a solid 3-point shot and range to his game..That’s his floor, his ceiling could be something special, IF he’s able to develop and reach it in a couple years..

        • He said ‘that’s his floor’. Serge was a great defensive player in his early OKC days, then added a shot. JJJ already has all of that.

        • Billy Winters

          Serge is actually 4 years older than he says. Dude was entering his prime on his rookie deal. Look at his stats.

  4. If you would have seen Jackson play at Michigan State, you would have said he should have stayed for another year. He was drafted on “potential.” He stunk the 2 games he played in the NCAA tournament.

  5. Memphis should rebuilt they have not a chance in a million to make it to the playoffs, so just let it go, a shame they are wasting Gasol’s las few good years, but it is what it is. I don’t think JJJ will ever be as good as Gasol, but he can learn a lot from him & be a good player, cannot see him been a star.

  6. Problem with rebuild is Boston owns their protected first round pick, and like Luol Deng, nobody wants Chandler Parsons contract.

  7. FromTheCheapSeats

    Memphis should be pretty good this year. Dillon Brooks is a really nice third piece to go along with Conley and Gasol. Jaren Jackson will be OK, but the rookie they should be excited about is Jevon Carter. He’s going to be a great backup. Four or five years from now, he’ll be starting somewhere. Write that down and remember where you heard it first.

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