Memphis Grizzlies -42-40
Key Additions: David Fizdale – Head Coach (4 years/ $10.2M), Chandler Parsons- Forward (4 years/ $94.8m), Troy Daniels- Guard (3 years/ $10m), James Ennis- Forward (2 years/ $6m), Wade Baldwin IV- Guard (17th overall pick), Deyonta Davis- Forward (31st overall pick)
Departures: Dave Joerger, Matt Barnes, Ray McCallum, Chris Anderson, P.J. Hairston, Jordan Farmar, Xavier Munford, Lance Stephenson
The injury bug decided to bite the Grizzlies this past season and really shook things up. Memphis used an NBA-record 28 players in their push for the seventh seed in the West. They were the first team in NBA history to make the playoffs while using more than 23 different players throughout the season. Thankfully for a strong start, the team was able to hang on to a playoff spot while limping into the postseason. Their two biggest losses came when both Gasol and Conley suffered season-ending injuries.
Memphis’ starting five was a guessing game each night. It seemed that everyday someone new was handed a Grizzlies jersey and thrown onto the roster. The team gave eight different players 10-day contacts last season. Want to understand how bad it truly was? Tony Allen lead the team in games started, with 57. Their most “consistent” starter was someone who played just over half of the season. It wasn’t much of a shock when the Spurs swept them in the first round, the team was basically being held together with chewing gum. It was a blessing in disguised being bounced that early. It would allow them to get some rest, rehab, and clean up the roster.
Along with the end of their season came the firing of head coach Dave Joerger. Even though he led them to the playoffs in each of his three season, it was time for a change. This past season was a complete mess for the organization and the Grizzlies needed a complete makeover.
Times are changing in Memphis. The “Grit-and Grind” era that they’ve been known for over the past six seasons looks to be coming to an end. It was announced recently that Zach Randolph would no longer be having a starting role with the team come next season. The team looks to go different route with their starters and hope that Randolph can feast on opposing second units.
It seems the Grizzlies have been stuck in the same spot for the past few seasons and can’t take that next step. But perhaps with new head coach David Fizdale things may look to be different. He’s a coach that doesn’t want to feel comfortable; he wants to push his players to be better. This team has been stagnant for seasons now, and with Fizdale, he looks to modernize an offense that seemingly is out of date.
The Grizzlies made some pretty big offseason noise for a small market team. Maybe the biggest was when they re-signed G Mike Conley to the biggest contract in league history, securing him to be their longtime point guard. Memphis also shocked the league when they landed Chandler Parsons. It came as somewhat of a surprise that a team coming off one of the most injury ridden seasons in league history would go after a player who is known for missing some time. But this was a risk they had to take. The offense needed a boost, and if Parsons can stay healthy he can help improve the team dramatically. His ability to knock down threes and the fact that he can stretch the floor if moved to the power forward spot will give the Grizzlies a facet that they haven’t had in quite some time.
This team may surprise some people this season and be in the middle of the Western Conference playoff race. The bottom half of the playoff spots in West are up for grabs, and with Gasol and Conley back at full strength, the Grizzlies have as good a shot as anyone to grab one of them. With a strong offseason, this team looks much improved. They locked up a strong point guard, added a good scorer and added depth on the bench. As we had the chance to see in last years campaign, many of these guys tend to break down. If this team can stay relatively healthy and keep the starting five somewhat the same throughout, the Grizzlies will do well. A change of philosophy at the head coaching position is something this team truly needed to make. The 2016 season will be the first step in the right direction. Title contenders? No, the West is much to top heavy for them to be in the mix. But this team is going to be competitive in the regular season and push some teams in the playoffs. Lets just hope this team doesn’t need 28 players to get through the season again.