Coming off a franchise record 56 wins and a trip to the Western Conference Finals, the Memphis Grizzlies did not bring back their head coach Lionel Hollins. Without Hollins the Grizzlies were still great on the defensive end and made the playoffs. They won 50 games in back to back seasons for the first time in franchise history but lost a tough seven game series against the Oklahoma City Thunder in the 1st round.
Marc Gasol missed 23 games and the Grizz struggled without him. With Gasol they were 40-19 and managed to secure the 7th seed. Zach Randolph picked up the slack, averaging another double-double. He was solid all year long for a Grizzlies team that struggles to score the ball. Mike Conley continues to improve as a leader and shooter. His scoring average increased and his turnovers decreased. He is an underrated defender at the point guard position.
The Grizz lost one of their 3 point weapons in Quincy Pondexter early in the season. Mike Miller returned to Memphis as a knockdown shooter who struggled to stay on the court. He played in all 82 games for the first time since his rookie season. He hit over 100 three pointers for the first time since his last season in Memphis during the 2007-08 season.
They drafted shooting guard Jordan Adams out of UCLA with the 22nd pick. He shot the ball well in college but I think they should have got Rodney Hood from Duke. Tayshaun Prince was not productive as a starting forward and Hood is a small forward with good size who can shoot. In the 2nd round they traded for Jarnell Stokes, a forward from Tennessee who got better each year. He averaged 15 and 10 in his junior year and the Grizz hope his rebounding and effort will transfer to the next level.
In the off-season the biggest lost was Mike Miller. Other guys like James Johnson and Ed Davis also left. The Grizz did get Vince Carter who can try to fill Mike Miller’s role off the bench. Earl Clark and Michael Beasley give them depth at the forward positions. Pondexter is 100% after having foot surgery and will be needed to stretch the floor for this team.
Defense will be their calling card once again. They were a much better team when Gasol was on the floor. They could really use a new starting small forward because Prince has not been good. Winning 50 games was impressive last year considering the injuries. With a healthy team they will win 52-54 games.