How the Memphis Grizzlies compare to other Western Conference teams

Kyle Anderson, Memphis Grizzlies Mandatory Credit: Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports
Kyle Anderson, Memphis Grizzlies Mandatory Credit: Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports /
Memphis Grizzlies
Ja Morant, Memphis Grizzlies Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports /

Memphis Grizzlies basketball hasn’t changed much, but there was a point in time a couple of years ago when the Western Conference was more than the Eastern Conference. Now, life is different in the NBA.

The West and the East, respective conferences accommodating stockpile of equal talent from both sides. Teams on the West Coast featuring stars like LeBron James, Damian Lillard, and Stephen Curry while the East presents stars with names of Kevin Durant, James Harden, and Giannis Antetokounmpo.

The lists can go on, of course, but the bigger question stands: which side is the most competitive for teams within their own conferences?

In this storyline, let’s create a case study for a team like the Memphis Grizzlies, a perfect example. The Grizzlies (21-22, conf. 10-16) are sitting 9th in the Western Conference standings but are stuck in this whirlpool of dominance amongst the Western Conference.

The Memphis Grizzlies are on pace to make the NBA Playoffs

The Grizzlies are somewhat on pace to make the playoffs for the first time since the 2016-17 season, which is four NBA seasons ago. Coach Taylor Jenkins’ team has been impressive thus far, and compared to the many dreadful seasons this franchise has seen, indeed makes a case for this year’s playoffs.

The West is stacked with a lot of talent, and unless the Grizzlies are content with possibly looking from the “outside-in” for another missed playoff year, they must keep their foot on the gas. They tend to go on these mini-streaks, but it’s not enough for a conference to validate this team a playoff spot.

I mean, we’re talking about a conference with so much firepower that LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers don’t even fair out in the top 3 spots.

The Grizzlies are under .500 against teams in the West with a 10-16 record — yeah… that’s not good and needs to improve. The Utah Jazz are sitting high on the throne at No. 1, while the Suns and Clippers follow at the No. 2 and 3 spots. These are teams the Grizzlies must get past to keep their playoff hopes alive.

But unfortunately, even teams spotted right above the Grizzlies can give them trouble. Teams like the Trail Blazers, Nuggets, Spurs, and Mavericks, who sit right above the Grizzlies as of now, can make it hard for Memphis to stay out of the playoff race.

Jenkins must come up with a plan to get this team over the hump, as players on those teams from Damian Lillard to Nikola Jokic to Luka Doncic will not slow down anytime soon at this point of the season.

Next. 3 Grizzlies who can step up before JJJ's return. dark

It’s a Wild, Wild West this year, and the Grizzlies are in the middle of it.