Memphis Grizzlies 2014-15 NBA Season Primer


May 1, 2014; Memphis, TN, USA; Memphis Grizzlies guard

Mike Conley

(11) drives to the basket against Oklahoma City Thunder forward

Kevin Durant

(35) in game six of the first round of the 2014 NBA Playoffs at FedExForum. The Oklahoma City Thunder defeated the Memphis Grizzlies 104-84. Mandatory Credit: Spruce Derden-USA TODAY Sports

As we continue our NBA Preview series, we take a closer look at the Memphis Grizzlies

More from Memphis Grizzlies

Memphis Grizzlies 2013-14 record: 50-32

Memphis Grizzlies 2013-14 MVP: Mike Conley – 17.2 points, 6.0 assists, 20.0 PER

Three Things I Think I Know About The Memphis Grizzlies

  1. Regardless of age, they’re impossible to fully count out, even in the playoffs.
  2. Mike Conley will keep getting better, as has been the case over the past seven seasons.
  3. Their “slow and steady wins the race” mentality is effective, but only up to a point.

Memphis Grizzlies Key Additions:

Memphis Grizzlies Key Losses:

The Memphis Grizzlies will be a playoff team if…

They remain effective defensively, execute in the half-court, and play physical basketball. While the Western Conference is indeed loaded, it shouldn’t be forgotten that Memphis won 50 games last year. They might be old, but old wins in this league. They’re extremely savvy in terms of positioning, understanding the flow of a game, and utilizing their big men, who are like night and day.

Zach Randolph is the low-post scorer and tough-nosed rebounder Marc Gasol can never be, while Gasol is the strong post defender who plays more a finesse game from the perimeter and in, instead of the opposite. They complement each other enormously well, and are flanked by one of the most underrated point guards in the league, Mike Conley, who every year seems to take a big step up in both production and basketball IQ.

Should Randolph and Gasol do as they always do, and should Conley build upon his already polished game, these Grizzlies are a lock for another post-season.

Team Strengths:

Defense, defense, defense. Last year, Memphis held opponents to a ridiculous 94.6 points a game, while practically never fouling (19.1 a night – 5th best in the league) which kept teams off the free throw line, and thus, were denied free points. Memphis ranks in the middle of the pack in steals and blocks, but it’s their positioning and aggressive on-ball hounding which for the most part gets the job done. Conley and Tony Allen are excellent at forcing ball-handlers to the sidelines – at times even trapping players in the corners – while funnelling them towards paths that lead to Gasol.

In short: As a group, the Grizzlies are downright scary smart and plays a brand of basketball which demands discipline and constant communication.

Team Weaknesses:

Memphis is, in a word, slow. They ranked dead-last in pace last season, their core is old, they lack a healthy volume of shooters to justify building a running game, and they lack explosiveness. This is a huge problem in terms of getting past established teams like San Antonio and Oklahoma City, who can both run and execute in the open floor. Memphis will always have a ceiling on their season, until they find components that can help them make plays in the open court. Acquiring Vince Carter at the age of 37 doesn’t count.

The Memphis Grizzlies 2014-15 MVP will be…

Mike Conley. I know people love Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph, but Conley is just solid in every facet of the game.

Season Defining Question:

Can they establish a running game in any way, shape, or form?

Best Case Scenario:


Worst Case Scenario:


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