Memphis Grizzlies owner Robert Pera has high hopes for next season’s team:
Pera on outlook next season: "Assuming Marc and Mike come back healthy, we have some good young players coming back and we'll get another good player in this draft. I see no reason why we can't be a 50-win plus team."
— Michael Wallace (@MyMikeCheck) June 12, 2018
The Grizzlies won just 22 games last season, but it’s easy to see where Pera’s coming from; that 22-win season was the first time the Grizzlies’ win total has dipped under 40 since the 2008-09 season, and Memphis still has its two pillars: Marc Gasol and Mike Conley. Conley was injured last season and played just 12 games. Plus, Pera is (in theory) correct about the Grizzlies getting another good player in the draft. After all, they have the second-overall pick, a pick that typically procures a talented prospect.
Despite having much of the same personnel (Gasol, Conley, JaMychal Green) that they’ve had in past years, these Grizzlies lack the grit-and-grind identity that trademarked the Grizzlies of old. Tony Allen and Zach Randolph’s absence are one reason for that. Another is this: As the league has evolved, the Grizzlies’ lack of spacing has become less and less feasible. For that reason, Gasol has become a 3-point shooter. Non-3-point shooters Allen and Randolph are gone (although Randolph has begun to add that outside shot to his game in Sacramento). So, while these Grizzlies have the same big names that were on those teams that consistently made the playoffs, the playstyle is vastly different. The Grizzlies might have the talent to make the playoffs next season if everyone’s healthy. It’s not likely, however, and 50 wins is even less probable.