During Mike Conley's short career in Memphis, there have been many highs and lows. In the 2007 NBA Draft, Conley was drafted fourth overall and was expected to help jumpstart a faltering franchise. The smooth lefty from Ohio State has steadily improved each season.
Conley faced criticism in the early part of the season. GM Chris Wallace offered a contract extension to Conley. Conley agreed to a contract extension that raised many eyebrows around the NBA. Conley's career numbers are average at best and he was rewarded a five-year, $45 million contract.
This season, Conley is playing the best basketball of his career. Conley is averaging career highs in points, assists, rebounds and field goal percentage. A lot of Conley's improvement shows that he has put in the time to improve his game.
This is also the first time in Conley's career that he has sole possession of point guard position. In the past, Allen Iverson, Kyle Lowry and Marcus Williams have battled Conley for minutes, at times disrupting his confidence.
The Grizzlies will be in an uphill battle for a playoff position. The Grizzlies have shown a lot of promise this season with wins over the Miami Heat, Dallas Mavericks, Los Angeles Lakers and Oklahoma City Thunder.
Consistency is something that the Grizzlies have struggled with in the past, but this may be time for them to turn the corner in the right direction.
If the Grizzlies make the playoffs, it will have a lot to do with Conley's improvement.
Conley may never reach the hype of being selected fourth overall, but with steady improvement and a diligent work ethic, Conley can become a special player.
Head coach Lionel Hollins has willingly handed over the keys to Conley. Grizzlies fans want to know if Conley is ready to help drive them to a playoff birth.