Though things got off to a shockingly sound start directly after the season-ending surgery of Ja Morant, going 3-2 during the initial five outings without their star in tow, the Memphis Grizzlies have now dropped two straight and four of their last five.
Now, they find themselves gearing up for a Monday night bout against the equally lackluster Toronto Raptors, who are seen by some as an ideal opponent to end their losing streak.
However, despite their 16-27 record being within the same ballpark as Memphis' (15-27), coupled with the fact that they are presumably in a full-on rebuild mode following the recent trades of OG Anunoby and star Pascal Siakam, this upcoming matchup is by no means a shoo-in win for Taylor Jenkins and company, as Locked on Grizzlies host Joe Mullinax explained in a recent episode of the podcast that, at the end of the day, Toronto simply has more "NBA talent" than the Grizz.
Grizzlies talent pool gets harsh reality check ahead of Raptors game
"[The Raptors] have more actual NBA players if I'm just being real with you... I mentioned earlier in the show that Luke Kennard is the second-best player on the Memphis Grizzlies right now. If you want to say Vince Williams Jr. I'll hear that [but] at worst Luke Kennard is the third-best player on the Memphis Grizzlies right now. Third-best player on the Toronto Raptors right now is probably Bruce Brown, maybe RJ Barrett, maybe Immanuel Quickley. You get the point that I'm making, right? Memphis just does not have enough actual NBA talent in a position to compete to put this team as a favorite in just about any game they play moving forward."- Joe Mullinax
Mullinax would continue on to say that while "it hurts to say out loud," he would reference the extensive injury report for the Grizzlies as a reason for his harsh reality check, especially highlighting the longer-term absences of Morant, Steven Adams, Desmond Bane, Brandon Clarke, and Marcus Smart as a result of health-related ailments.
Though several of the team's available players have certainly displayed positive flashes throughout these injury-riddled times, with Jaren Jackson Jr. showing his worth as a top scoring option and Ziaire Williams possibly upping his trade value, Mullinax believes that, ultimately, it must be understood that whether they're playing against the top-seeded Minnesota Timberwolves or lowly Raptors, the Grizzlies are almost certainly going to be viewed as the underdogs moving forward.
While this may not be an enviable position for the fanbase, the organization accepting this reality could stand to benefit their long-term agenda for the years to come.