Jan. 28, 2012; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Memphis Grizzlies center Marc Gasol react against the Phoenix Suns at the US Airways Center. The Suns defeated the Grizzlies 86-84. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

30 In 30: Memphis Grizzlies

LY W-L: 56-26

Key Additions: Kosta Koufos, Mike Miller Jamaal Franklin, Dave Joerger (Head Coach)

Key Departures: Lionel Hollins

Analysis: It’s safe to say that the Memphis Grizzlies front office is pretty happy with the foundation that has been set. The Grizzlies are returning, nearly, everybody from last year’s roster. Every Grizzlie who logged a key minute during their historic playoff run will be back. Except, head coach Lionel Hollins. The only head-scratching move Memphis made this offseason, even though most saw this coming.

The question begs to be asked as to whether this move will ultimately hurt the Grizzlies going forward. We’re going to find out, exactly, how important coaches are in the NBA. If Memphis repeats – or even exceeds – what they did last season, then no one will talk about Hollins. However, if the Grizzlies underachieve, the bashing over hiring Dave Joerger will arise.

Also, the Grizzlies need to ask themselves why they fell short (way short) against the San Antonio Spurs in the Western Conference Finals. Was it simply complacency? Memphis reached the Conference Finals for the first time in franchise history and it really looked like the Grizzlies were content on that accomplishment alone. Not sure if that was the case, but that’s just how it looked.

On paper, the Grizzlies matched up well against the Spurs. They just couldn’t translate it onto the hardwood.

Heading into next season, the Western Conference won’t look the same. The Spurs will still be the Spurs, just a year older. Oklahoma City will be healthy, Houston is now a real player, Golden State is getting better by the minute, the Clippers are on the verge of something very special and who knows what the Denver Nuggets will look like next year after so much turnover in that organization. I’m not sure where Memphis falls into all that. Maybe somewhere in the middle, if that.

I actually feel the Grizzlies will win less regular season games than last season. The West has really transformed into a power of a league. Last season could’ve been the Grizzlies last legitimate shot at a Finals appearance for a while. If you really look at it, the Lakers are going to be major players in the free agency class of 2014 (LeBron, Melo, Wade, Bosh, Paul George), Kevin Durant is only getting better and the Clippers are one epiphany away from being scary good.

In a perfect world, we could say that the Grizzlies will get shot after shot in the Conference Finals, but that isn’t the case. The NBA isn’t played in a perfect world. If it were, the Cleveland Cavaliers would’ve won a championship before the self-proclaimed king, right Dan Gilbert?

(Projected) 2013-2014 W-L: 48-34

The Grizzlies will be solid once again, but I still question whether they let their opportunity slip away. The West will be as tough as its been in years next season. Memphis made plenty of great memories last year during their playoff run; I just don’t see them surpassing any of those milestones next season.

Tags: Memphis Grizzlies NBA Free Agency NBA Offseason

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