We continue our 2015 NBA Playoffs series outlook with the Memphis Grizzlies– a team currently in a race against the Houston Rockets for the No.2 seed in the Western Conference. The Grizzlies made waves during the first half of the regular season where Marc Gasol experienced career numbers and praise among the early MVP candidates. With another impressive season under their belts, the Grizzlies could find themselves in a playoffs matchup versus a dangerous San Antonio Spurs or Dallas Mavericks team.
However, there’s also a flip-side to the coin… With their recent struggles to win games, the Grizzlies could lose the No.2 seed in the West.
Is this by design or could their shortcomings continue into the playoffs?
Team S.U. Debates
Steve Turner (NBA Writer): True, the Memphis Grizzlies are just struggling as of late, however, teams are competing harder and trying to make a last minute playoff push which is giving the Grizzlies difficulty closing out games. This doesn’t mean that the Grizzlies will struggle like the same in the playoffs, as this team is my sleeper team in the west. This team has the components needed to win a championship. All-Star center Marc Gasol has established himself as one of the best centers in the league. He’s a dominate scorer, superb defender, and plays with a lot of heart. The Grizzlies have the big men required to shut most opposing teams down, and Zach Randolph is going to be a big part of their playoff run. He’s shown in previous playoff series that he can score and defend at a high level.
Randolph is an extremely underrated player and I believe he will be explosive for his team. Also, the Grizzlies have an underrated point guard in Mike Conley. He can defend most of the elite point guards in the league and overwhelm a team with a barrage of clutch points when they least expect it. Also, Conley has made it a habit of knocking down the clutch shot when Memphis needs it the most. I am worried about one this with this Memphis team.
If the playoffs started right now, the Grizzlies would be matched up with either the San Antonio Spurs or Dallas Mavericks. I would be extremely scared for Memphis if they had to meet up with the defending champions in the first round. The Grizzlies need to hope that they can take that second seed back from the Houston Rockets which could lead to a matchup with the Dallas Mavericks instead. If the Grizzlies do face the Spurs though, the Grizzlies could be facing a first round exit.
Keith Rivas (Sports Unbiased Editor): The recent seasons in Memphis history have elapsed much like a rubber band that’s been stretched back and forth consistently. Sometimes they’ll go far in the playoffs — like two years ago when they made the Western Conference Finals — or last season that ended with a seven-game exit thanks to the Oklahoma City Thunder.
But the Grizzlies have found their stride again — or so they hope.
Mike Conley, Jr. along with Zach Randolph have been the building blocks for this team from the day they became a remote contender. Conley has been steady, providing just under 16 points, three rebounds, and five assists while Randolph has been big on the defensive front for big blue.
With last year’s disappointing end to the season still fresh in their head, the Grizzlies will have some momentum entering this year’s playoffs as the wing-man out west. Somehow someway the Golden State Warriors have not had many roadblocks despite having a rookie head coach and a point guard that’s still developing and far from a finished product.
They have proven to be the only team better than the Grizzlies this season in the Western Conference — which is always the best conference in the league — and I think that really says a lot about how far they’ve come from not so long ago.
Let the games begin!
Bobby Bourhis (NBA Contributor, If I Were a GM- Personal Blog): The Memphis Grizzlies are currently set to play the San Antonio Spurs in the first round of the playoffs. If they can surpass Houston for the two seed then they would get the luxury of playing the struggling Dallas Mavericks. Therefore, considering the three seed will face a tougher opponent than the two seed, there would be no logical reason for why the Grizzlies would be losing by design in order to slip to the number three seed. Additionally, A playoff team such as the Grizzlies would never intentionally lose a game, meaning that their recent struggles are indicative of merely just a rough patch in the schedule.
The Grizzlies lost three straight by facing the Cavaliers, Warriors, and Spurs all of which are elite teams in the NBA. Expect Memphis to be a strong team in the playoffs, and perhaps even make it to the Western Conference Finals. Led by Marc Gasol, Zach Randolph and Mike Conley, the Grizzlies have more size than most of their opponents, and have the ability to out muscle the opposition in the paint. If Memphis faces San Antonio in the first round, it should be an incredible series that comes down to the wire.
Sauping R. Arguello (NBA Contributor): The Memphis Grizzlies always seem to be the team to be overlooked. They are rarely considered favorites to advance in the playoffs but always seem to be in the mix. The addition of Jeff Green has given Memphis the athletic, versatile wingman they desperately needed. All-Star Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph are two of the best, if not the best big-man tandem in basketball.
Mike Conley will be playing with a chip on his shoulder as he is often overlooked as the top point guards in the league. Memphis seems like they will finish either as the second or third seed. I believe it will depend on their seeding on whether they advance past the first round. Regardless of opponent, it will be a six or seven game hard fought series.
Do you expect anything less from this team?