The Memphis Grizzlies went to the playoffs for the second year in a row, led by the Most Improved Player, Ja Morant, but that was hardly their goal as they were used to making deep runs in the former years as the “Grind House” led by an All-Star cast.
The new regime of the Grizz had high aspirations of their own, so they finished with one of the best records in Grizzlies history as the 2nd seed, with a 56-26 record. They even went toe to toe in the Western Conference Semifinals against one of the NBA’s greatest dynasties, the Golden State Warriors, who eventually became the 2022 NBA champions. One could even argue that they could have won if not for the Ja Morant injury that came at the hands of Jordan Poole.
But this NBA team with the most players under the age of 25 is not satisfied and not finished. They’re just getting started. The phenomenal young talents of Desmond Bane, Dillon Brooks, and Jaren Jackson, Jr. had proven time and time again that they are winners, even having a record of 20-5 when Ja Morant did not play. And when you add the fact that this young team has the veteran leadership of Steven Adams and is also led by the once Rookie of the Year and voted as the third-best guard in the NBA, Ja Morant, it is easy to see that they will keep climbing and keep fighting until they hoist up the Larry O’Brien trophy.
The Grizzlies’ front office is geniuses in finding fresh talent to add to the blockbuster team. At the 2022 NBA Draft, Memphis acquired two first-round picks, using them on 6’7 forward Jake LaRavia from Wake Forest and 6’5 forward David Roddy from Colorado State. Those two combined can get them at least 30 points and 15 rebounds a night. On the same night of the draft, they traded for three-time NBA champion Danny Green from the 76ers. They also re-signed a couple of decent guards. They gave Vince Williams a two-way contract and John Konchar a veteran extension. Superstar guard Ja Morant signed a five-year, $192.85 million rookie max contract. Morant’s teammate Steven Adams has agreed on a two-year, $25.2 million-dollar extension.
Projected Starting Five
PG: Ja Morant
SG: Desmond Bane
SF: Dillon Brooks
PF: Santi Aldama
C: Steven Adams
Injury Update: Power forward Jaren Jackson Jr. underwent surgery to address a stress fracture in his right foot in June. The procedure is supposed to sideline Jackson for at least four to six months. Reports have indicated that Jackson could return to the Grizzlies’ starting lineup around November. While he is out, backup PF Santi Aldama is the best option to step in and contribute.
Projected Outlook: Playoff Contender
Although the Memphis Grizzlies made it to the Playoffs in the 2020-2021 season, no one expected them to be the 2nd seed in the Western Conference and the entire NBA. They finished with one of the best seasons in Grizzlies history and tied the 2012-2013 team, both with 56 wins. Ironically, that 2013 team made it to the Western Conference Finals. With a healthy and rejuvenated Morant and an aggressive team with a chip on their shoulder, the Grizzlies are poised to contend for a playoff spot and could potentially advance to the WCF as they did in 2013.
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