The Memphis Grizzlies got a small taste of the postseason
Believe it or not, the Memphis Grizzlies made history this year. Ja Morant and Co. played in the first-ever official play-in game in NBA history. The Grizzlies, however, fell to the Portland Trail Blazers and were eliminated from the playoffs.
As sad as it is to see the team I fell in love with this year go, you can’t help to think about the season they had. What a magical year for the Grizzlies. They went from a team that everyone had written off as not having a future to showing the league they are the future.
Anyone who followed the Grizzlies this season watched the birth of two superstars, Ja Morant and Jaren Jackson Jr. Morant came in immediately and proved he could be the main cog in an NBA offense and thrive. Jaren Jackson Jr. showed an improved 3-point stroke shooting nearly 40 percent from 3 while putting up 6.5 attempts per game. These two showed the potential of what the future of the league is going to look like, bigs who can shoot and guards getting to the rim.
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Oh, they both aren’t even 21 years old yet.
Other key young players emerged this year as well. Dillion Brooks showed great improvement by setting career highs in points, rebounds, and assists. De’Anthony Melton and Grayson Allen provided key contributions off the bench, especially at the end of the bubble games when the Grizzlies were low on bodies. The steal of the draft Brandon Clarke showed he has sky-high potential as a power forward for this team moving forward, playing with high energy, great rebounding, and a great alley-oop target for Ja.
Jonas Valanciunas showed that he isn’t quite extinct yet, shooting the 3-ball this season. He was an important player down the stretch providing much-needed rebounding and scoring in the paint. It will be interesting to see how they will use him going forward.
What’s in store for the Memphis Grizzlies’ future?
People argue that playoff experience does and doesn’t matter. I’m on the side of it does matter especially for a young team like the Grizzlies. To get a taste of postseason basketball and experience how hard the series is and lows of highs of losing or winning a playoff series will make a team grow.
The Grizzlies may not have been officially in the playoffs but this young squad got a taste. In a win-or-go-home situation, the game felt like it was a Game 7 in a series. For the youngest team in the league to be in that game until the very end and leave it all out on the floor will only make this team stronger for the future.
There is still a lot of work to do in Memphis. The Grind City of old is no more and the future has arrived. Ja Morant and Jaren Jackson Jr. lead one of the most promising teams into next season and will be hungry for a playoff berth. With a fully healthy roster and the addition of Justise Winslow, this team will be setting their sights high next season. New Grind City is going to be hungry and aiming to take the Western Conference by storm.