Memphis Grizzlies: Taylor Jenkins’ 2020-21 season was all over the place

Ja Morant, Memphis Grizzlies Mandatory Credit: Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports
Ja Morant, Memphis Grizzlies Mandatory Credit: Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports /
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Memphis Grizzlies
Taylor Jenkins, Memphis Grizzlies Mandatory Credit: Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports /

If you take a step back, the Memphis Grizzlies‘ 2020-21 season was a huge success. The ending was disappointing, but the fact that the Grizzlies stole a game against the NBA’s best team by record says a lot about where this franchise is at right now.

That said, you can thank a few different people for this team’s success. Firstly, you’d have to point the finger at the Grizzlies’ front office, which put together as good of a team as physically possible at this point in the rebuild.

Even though General Manager and Vice President of Basketball Operations Zach Kleiman won’t be in the running for NBA Executive of the year, he has done a better job with the cards he was dealt than any other front office executive in the game. This would not go without recognition though, as Kleiman was recently given a contract extension by the Grizzlies.

That said, one of Kleiman’s hires may have been the X-factor in the 2020-21 season. That hire is Taylor Jenkins, the head coach of the Memphis Grizzlies.

Memphis Grizzlies HC Taylor Jenkins fast-forwarded his team’s rebuild by a couple of years

Taylor Jenkins did something that nobody expected in 2021: he took an objectively worse team and brought them to the NBA Playoffs.

Before you get upset that I called this team objectively worse, allow me to specify what I mean. The Grizzlies were playing without Jaren Jackson Jr. for the entire season. Even upon JJJ’s return, he never got back into full form. Memphis basically had a single true big man the entire year in Jonas Valanciunas.

Add that to the fact that this team struggled with injuries all season long and hardly anybody gave Memphis a chance to reach the playoffs.