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Rudy Gay may have reached his ceiling.
"Even with Rudy Gay, we're still not quite there."
The Grizzlies were able to take the Thunder to seven games and almost advance to the conference finals in 2011 without Rudy Gay. The thought was, with Gay back on board, they would be a serious threat to advance further and possibly break the cusp as a fringe contender.
With Gay back on the team, they were unable to advance past the first round in one of the more highly anticipated No. 4 vs. No. 5 matchups in recent years. They pitted themselves against a talented Clippers squad in the first round, losing in seven games.
So, what can this Memphis squad do to get over the hump if even having a fully healthy roster isn't enough? That's unclear.
The Grizzlies have one of the best front lines in the NBA with Gay, Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol. Still, they have merely an average backcourt with Mike Conley and defensive demon Tony Allen.
It seems that for the Grizzlies to take the next step, they're going to have to add another perimeter scorer.
Or would that even do it?
They let O.J. Mayo walk, as he had shown little improvement since his rookie season, and they added Jerryd Bayless, who will fill the same role as Mayo. But these lateral moves won't help the Grizzlies beat the best teams in the West.
The team is too good to blow up, yet not good enough to contend.
So where do they go? What did they learn from last year?
Just that they're not quite there yet, and since the only injured player last year was backup forward Darrell Arthur, the Grizzlies have nothing to blame except insufficient talent.