Memphis Grizzlies: The biggest threat to the Suns in the Western Conference?

Ja Morant (Photo by Justin Ford/Getty Images)
Ja Morant (Photo by Justin Ford/Getty Images) /

The Memphis Grizzlies just might be the biggest threat to the Phoenix Suns in the Western Conference. 

The Memphis Grizzlies appear to be a team that no one wants to face in a 7-game series during the playoffs. They are an underrated group with all of the ingredients for success in a postseason run to the NBA Finals.

The Grizzlies have a team-oriented culture with their “grit and grind” mentality, team defense, and chemistry. As one of the hottest teams in the NBA, the Grizzlies have won nine of their last 10 games and currently hold the No. 2 seed behind the Phoenix Suns in the West.

Their defense has truly made the difference as they rank No. 1 in blocks and steals and third in opponent points off turnovers. The Grizzlies hardly ever allow any easy buckets at the rim forcing opponents to try and beat them from the perimeter. Even though the NBA playoffs are much more difficult to navigate than the marathon that is the regular season, the Grizzlies have attributes that translate into winning basketball.

If a team can rebound, play defense, move and take care of the ball and play with that “underdog mentality” that the Grizzlies have, then they are very capable of hoisting that Larry O’Brien trophy. Even though defense is a major reason for their success, the Grizzlies excel on the offensive end as well. They rank second in points per game, first in rebounds per game, and sixth in assists.

The team chemistry and brotherhood the Grizzlies share is surely what sets them apart from other teams in the league as they complement one another from the starters to the bench. It all begins with Ja Morant as he has become a great young leader and one of the brightest young superstars this season.

A player from a small school not known for producing top-level talent, Morant made it to the league out of Murray State and is taking the NBA by storm as he is responsible for the Grizzlies ascending to new heights as the face of their franchise. This team is so scary that they have compiled a 20-2 record when Morant doesn’t play. What’s really not to love about the Grizzlies?

They are an unselfish group as it’s a proven fact that it’s difficult to prepare for a team like them where everyone contributes. Steven Adams has proven to be a wise acquisition. He is a beast n the defensive end and on the boards but the most underrated part of Adams’ game is his nice touch around the rim. Most notably, his ability to make those shots off glass from any angle is impressive.

Adams won’t score a ton of points even though he is a decent close to midrange shooter and he doesn’t shoot much as he doesn’t appear to care about personal stats and rather do what’s best for the team. Adams fits in perfectly with the Grizzlies because his interior presence is needed and their wings can help him if he happens to be matched up against quicker smaller players.

Proving to be the steal of his draft class, Desmond Bane is becoming the Grizzlies’ next star player with his stellar play. He is averaging 18.2 points per game and should be a finalist for Most Improved Player. And the way rookie Zaire Williams is playing in addition to Bane gives the Grizzlies legitimate threats to score on any given night.

I also have to give some love to Dillon Brooks, a 6-foot-7 wing who can defend multiple positions, creates his own shot, also creates for his teammates, and is a very streaky shooter who is capable of filling up a stat sheet.

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With a healthy roster and all their key pieces in place to make a run, the Grizzlies are a dangerous team that appears to be poised and focused. This young, energetic and hungry group is capable of winning the West and might just pull it off if the other contenders aren’t prepared.