The Memphis Grizzlies are a young team with a lot of promise. Last season the Memphis Grizzlies improved their win total to 40 and were a few games out of playoff contention. The Memphis Grizzlies have the tools to turn over a new leaf. With All-Star Forward Zach Randolph and promising young stars Rudy Gay and O.J. Mayo the Grizzlies have the talent to make the playoffs in the Western Conference. In the brutal Western Conference the Grizzlies will also need consistent play from Marc Gasol and Mike Conley Jr. The future is bright in Memphis and with Head Coach Lionel Hollins at the helm the Grizzlies will only improve.
The team showed great flashes last season, but they lacked the mental toughness to compete with the elite teams in the West. Experience also plays a factor. The starting 5 of the Memphis Grizzlies will be teaming together for the second straight season. Each player in the starting 5 knows their role on the team. The spotlight will be on newly re-signed swing man Rudy Gay. Gay signed a maximum contract and he was a key player on the USA Olympic team this summer. Gay possess a strong skill set and is a highlight reel waiting to happen. One intriguing player for the Grizzlies will be O.J. Mayo. Mayo is an established player in the league with a bright future. This summer he was snubbed off the Olympic Team. Mayo will be motivated to silence the critics who doubted him this summer.
For a young team it is important to have veteran pieces and glue guys that make the team gel. This off-season the Memphis Grizzlies acquired Tony Allen from the Boston Celtics. Allen may not be a household name but has championship pedigree from winning a championship with the Celtics.
The Memphis Grizzlies are on track to make the Western Conference Playoffs this spring. This may come to shock to many, but to the Memphis Grizzlies this should come to no surprise. The city of Memphis will be rocking this season and it will not be because of Beale St.
I will feature a slide show that will show the top 5 reasons why the Memphis Grizzlies will make the playoffs.
The Trio Of O.J. Mayo, Rudy Gay, and Zach Randolph will put up monster numbers in the Western Conference. In their second season together they will build a better rapport on the court. Coach Lionel Hollins will put the ball in O.J. Mayo's hands in the fourth quarter to let him become a play maker rather than just a scorer. All three of these players are capable of scoring more than 20ppg. Despite scoring a lot of points they also contribute in other areas. Randolph is a beast on the boards while Mayo and Rudy Gay are decent wing defenders. With Rudy Gay being apart of the gold medal team this summer the taste of winning is something that will be contagious when the season rolls around. Coach Lionel Hollins did a great job last season managing his three headed monster. With more experience playing together the sky is the limit for the young Grizzlies.
Lionel Hollins has become a solid coach during his tenure in Memphis. Hollins motivated Zach Randolph into becoming an All-Star for the first season and it is obvious that he can handle the egos of his young superstars. Coach Hollins will show Grizzlies fans that he is worth every penny of his contract extension. Improving this roster from 24 wins to 40 wins is a amazing when coaching in the Western Conference. By seasons end Lionel Hollins may be up for the Coach of the year award.
This summer there was a heated competition at the guard spot for the USA Men's Basketball team. For the first time in Mayo's career he was not the "chosen one". This humbling experience should put a huge chip on his shoulder. O.J. Mayo should have a breakout season and will emerge as a leader on the Grizzlies roster. Mayo experimented at point guard during the Summer League, but he did not play his best. Plain in simple O.J. Mayo is a player. No matter where he is on the floor you will get results.
In the Western Conference there are solid bigs on every team. Marc Gasol will have his hands full this season, but I think he will rise to the challenge. Gasol may have to become more defensive minded to go along with his great offensive skillset. The Grizzlies does not need Gasol to average 17 points a game, but they will need about 12 points and 8 rebounds per game from Gasol. Gasol will be fresh on the court as well due to Haseem Thabeet playing a larger role. In the fourth quarter Gasol will have fresher legs because he can rest in certain stretches of the game. The Lakers are without Andrew Bynum for quite sometime, Greg Oden is injured, Mehmet Okur is coming off an injury, and the Houston Rockets will monitor Yao Ming's minutes. The Grizzlies success has a lot to do with the play of Marc Gasol.
The key players of the Memphis Grizzlies will be returning for a second season playing together. In a time where trades and free agency is a staple of the league this is one of the more experienced lineups. Several of the players on this team have been teammates for quite some time. With Coach Hollins and the team there is a sense of familiarity when on the court. This is the first time in a long time where the Grizzlies actually know what to expect from its Head Coach and players. The development of the young players of the Grizzlies has been special. Team chemistry is one reason why Allen Iverson was booted out of town. Everyone with a Grizzlies uniform has one goal and that is winning.