The Memphis Grizzlies had a disastrous 2017-2018 campaign. The Grizzlies finished with a record of 22-60, missing the playoffs for the first time in seven years. During last season, the Grizzlies fired Head Coach David Fizdale after 19 games and replaced him with J.B. Bickerstaff. Now that Bickerstaff has a season under his belt and with key players returning, the Grizzlies look to move forward in the right direction.
Countdown to NBA Tip-Off: Memphis Grizzlies Season Preview
What Worked Last Season
The Grizzlies may have discovered two players last year who can provide an extra boost to their team this season. Shooting guard Dillon Brooks showed positive signs in his rookie season. Brooks finished 11.0 points per game on 44% shooting. During March and April of last season, Brooks averaged over 17 points per game. Brooks has a chance to become the Grizzlies’ third scoring option.
Another player who stood out was MarShon Brooks. After being away from the NBA since 2014, Brooks signed to the Grizzlies and averaged 20.8 points in seven games. If he stays motivated, Brooks can be a nice, complementary player off the bench. The Grizzlies need veterans to lean on in light of major roster changes over the past few seasons.
What Needs Improvement
The offense needs to step up from last season. The Grizzlies averaged 99.3 points per game, which was ranked 29th in the NBA. Also, the Grizzlies were ranked near the bottom in field goal percentage, three-pointers made and three-point percentage. A big reason for the low rankings was the season-ending injury to former all-star Mike Conley, who only played in 12 games. Also, Chandler Parsons has not lived up to his contract. Injuries and ineffectiveness have plagued Parsons so far in his stint with the team. If Parsons can find his old magic again, the Grizzlies’ offense will vastly improve.
The Grizzlies were able to sign Kyle Anderson and Omri Casspi, two veteran players who can help improve the team. Anderson will provide a championship-like pedigree after spending his whole career with the San Antonio Spurs. He is also a good defender. Casspi is a good three-point shooter and will help spread the floor. Also, the Grizzlies drafted Jaren Jackson Jr. 4th overall and Jevon Carter 32nd overall. Jackson Jr. was heavily scouted and will provide range and athleticism while Carter will provide toughness and defense. Most importantly, the Grizzlies will have Conley Jr. back and fully healthy. His value and presence will affect the win column.
2018-2019 Season Prediction
The Grizzlies will improve on their win total from last season, especially if Conley Jr. and Marc Gasol stay healthy. The biggest question is can they improve their scoring average. That depends on the pieces around Conley Jr. and Gasol. For the most part, the roster is unproven and under construction. They will have to rely on young players such as Jackson Jr. to deliver early. The Grizzlies will win 35-40 games this season but will miss the playoffs. They are still a few years away. The Grindhouse will be closed for another season.