NBA legend makes bold Grizzlies prediction: 'They gonna be different'

Dec 15, 2023; Memphis, Tennessee, USA; Memphis Grizzlies head coach Taylor Jenkins reacts during the
Dec 15, 2023; Memphis, Tennessee, USA; Memphis Grizzlies head coach Taylor Jenkins reacts during the / Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports

The Memphis Grizzlies have struggled mightily to come across wins throughout the 2023-24 campaign, as they've been without key contributors and core players from the jump. As a result, they find themselves heading into the post-All-Star break stretch with a record of 20-36 and, in turn, are en route to missing out on the postseason for the first time in four years.

When completely healthy, Taylor Jenkins' squad is a legitimate title contender who, coming into the campaign, was even tabbed as having the eighth-best odds of taking home the Larry O'Brien Trophy.

Of course, with centerpieces like Ja Morant and Desmond Bane being sidelined for substantial portions of the year, along with other key commodities like Marcus Smart and Brandon Clarke seeing extended injury-induced hiatuses, it's no surprise that the Grizzlies find themselves vying for a high-end lottery pick rather than a top-eight seed in the Western Conference standings.

However, during a recent episode of Ticket & The Truth, NBA legends Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett discussed how, come next season, it's safe to assume Memphis will be back in the conversation as one of the game's elite squads, with the latter making the bold statement saying "They gonna be different."

Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett hype Grizzlies odds of contending in 2024-25

""This is the last year the Lakers or Golden State has a chance to get to the Finals," Pierce said. "This is the last year. After this, their run is over. Because these young teams is gonna be another year older, another year better, and then another team next year that's gonna come back is Memphis. They're gonna come back next year.""

Paul Pierce

During the two seasons prior to coming into this year, the Grizzlies had proven themselves to be one of the league's most dangerous groups despite having such a young core leading the way.

Claiming back-to-back Southwest Division titles and second-seeded finishes in the standings, Memphis had amassed a total of 107 wins over this stretch and, in 2021-22, embarked on their first semifinal appearance since 2015.

With guys like Morant, Bane, Jackson, and Smart all slated to come back at full strength next year, coupled with the emergence of promising young talents like Vince Williams Jr. and GG Jackson, one can only assume that the Grizzlies will once again be a force to be reckoned with come next season and beyond.

It seems two of the game's greatest players in Pierce and Garnett are confident in them becoming a top contender out west.

Are you?