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Built on the foundation of defensive tenacity and grueling back-to-the-basket offense, the Memphis Grizzlies are coming off the best year in their franchise’s short history.
Their one big question mark heading into the summer was would they be able to re-sign free-agent guard Tony Allen—one of the best defenders in the league and a microcosmic symbol of Memphis’ roster—at a semi-affordable price.
The answer turned out to be yes, with a four-year deal, keeping the team’s starting five intact. Elsewhere, they upgraded their frontcourt by dealing Darrell Arthur for Kosta Koufos and finally added another three-point shooter, Mike Miller, at a bargain rate thanks to the league’s amnesty process.
On paper the Grizzlies will be better, but a change at head coach creates more questions than answers, especially when the playoffs roll around. And too much is dependent on Zach Randolph, who just turned 32 and is coming off an embarrassing Western Conference Finals.
Memphis will be tough as ever, but that might not be enough in a conference that got noticeably better.