The Memphis Grizzlies haven’t been a team to carry a rich legacy compared to the league’s heavyweights such as the Los Angeles Lakers or Boston Celtics. However, there have been successful teams in the past. Especially, during the early 2010s when the Grit-and-Grind era teams were formed. To the surprise of some, this current Grizzlies team reminds an NBA champion head coach of those teams from that era.
Shortly after the Grizzlies suffered a tough loss at the hands of the Philadelphia 76ers, Sixers head coach, Doc Rivers, had some praise for the young roster. “It’s the athletic version of what they had before. A lot of tough guys”, when referring to how he views this Memphis team.
Grizzlies fans are very fond of the Grit-and-Grind era, as this was when Memphis developed into one of the best teams in the NBA. Led by Marc Gasol, Mike Conley, Zach Randolph, and Tony Allen, they played with extreme intensity, overwhelming opponents on the defensive side of the ball.
In the 2012-2013 season, the Memphis Grizzlies made it all the way to the franchise’s sole appearance in the western conference finals. Unfortunately, they were swept by the San Antonio Spurs, but for a team that rarely experienced postseason success, that playoff run became a building block for the future.
Although the playstyles of this year’s team and the teams of that era are quite different, they do carry a lot of the same traits. The Grizzlies have formed a culture in this organization that has become so distinctive and strong that it doesn’t matter who is in what position, the culture will still remain.
We are witnessing the most entertaining Grizzlies team that has ever been assembled yet they continue to play with the same grit and toughness as the former Marc Gasol-led teams played with. Those teams of past never enough to get over the hump, possibly this new and improved Grizzlies core does.