The Memphis Grizzlies are a good team. They have great interior scoring, wings that can defend multiple types of players, and they can play a slow-tempo, half-court game. All of these are recipes to win an NBA title . . . in the early 2000s.
The league has changed and unfortunately with Memphis, their roster isn’t fit to keep up with the likes of the Steph Curry's, James Harden's, and Russell Westbrook's of the league. They lack that elite superstar that can change a game at any given moment. The Atlanta Hawks lack one and were swept by the Cleveland Cavaliers last year despite not having Kevin Love and playing a one-legged Kyrie Irving. The Hawks can shoot it from beyond the arc, though. That’s something the Grizzlies have yet to figure out throughout the past few years.
They acquired Jeff Green who still hasn’t lived up to what he was expected to be entering the league. They signed Vince Carter to a three-year contract. He obviously isn’t the player he once was and rarely sees the court anymore. Jordan Adams was drafted for his scoring ability, but he hasn’t had a chance to showcase his talents within their scheme. Matt Barnes was signed this offseason, but is far from a three-point specialist. Courtney Lee can shoot from beyond the arc, but he is their lone guy capable of doing so consistently.
Mike Conley is in the second or third tier of point guards in the league. He isn’t a superstar, but he gets the job done. However, he’s been injury prone and can’t carry a team. Marc Gasol was the best center in the NBA for the past few years, but looks banged up and like a former shell of himself this season. Zach Randolph is also battling lingering injuries and plays even less defense than before. Age might have caught up to their big three.
Tony Allen is one of the best perimeter defenders in the league, but is also one of the worst offensive players in the league. At times, it cancels itself out. The Warriors took him out of the series last postseason by leaving him wide open. He couldn’t hit anything, forcing the coaching staff to leave him on the bench.
In today’s NBA, you need to be able to run and make shots from the three-point line. They Grizzlies can’t do either. The grit 'n grind days of the league seem to be over. Guys like Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins are expanding their range and trying to get into better shape to run with teams when they go small. The Grizzlies just don't fit that mold.
Dave Joerger is reportedly on the hot seat. Memphis has seen some success in the playoffs in the past five years, but they haven't reached the NBA Finals despite always being in the mix of things. They are considered one of the best teams in the West, year in and year out, but have yet to reach that elite status.
And it seems like they won't ever get there with their current roster. The game has changed too much for the Memphis style of play to progress and take that leap to championship status. It's time to blow up the roster. This disappointing start is no fluke; this is who the Memphis Grizzlies are. In today's NBA, this team just won't get it done.