Memphis Grizzlies: 3 reasons why the Grizzlies can shake up the west

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 /

Ask anybody about the Memphis Grizzlies — they’ll pretty much give you the same answer. They’ll say that Memphis is a young, promising team that could compete a few years down the road. You’d be hard-pressed to find anybody who thinks that the Grizzlies can make noise in the NBA Playoffs as soon as the 2021-22 season.

Well, you just found one. That’s right, I think the Grizz could be a deep-playoff competitor this year. Here’s why.

Reason No. 1: The Memphis Grizzlies, a playoff team last season, have improved in every facet of the game

Improvements were imminent for this Memphis Grizzlies basketball team. With a roster that was the youngest in the league for the bulk of the 2020-21 season, there’s really no reason why they should get worse at basketball.

That said, the loss of Jonas Valanciunas seemed like it could be very detrimental in the immediate future. His replacement in Steven Adams had been extremely ineffective with the Pelicans, and even though nobody was complaining, a regression at the center position seemed unavoidable.

In the preseason so far, that hasn’t been the case at all. In fact, Adams has looked even better than his predecessor in Valanciunas.

The whole team has improved and it’s showing up on the score sheet. Memphis did drop a game against the Atlanta Hawks, but virtually every important player was benched.

In the Grizzlies’ three games with their starters, they have won in convincing fashion each time. The first was ended after the third quarter, with Memphis finishing with a 10-point advantage. The second came against the Charlotte Hornets, who the Grizzlies dismantled in a 30-point rout. The third was the Grizzlies’ most recent game against the Detroit Pistons — a contest they won by 35 points.

These dominant victories aren’t a fluke — the Grizzlies are in midseason form already.