When thinking about the upper tier Western Conference teams, the Spurs, Warriors, and Clippers are usually the teams on the top of everyone’s mind. As they should be, because all of those teams have a real chance to make it al the way. But there is a place where ALL of those teams could face a challenge none of them are prepared for.
It’s the Grindhouse. And the team that plays there, is a team that everyone should stop leaving off their list of Western contenders. The Grizzlies.
Remember the team that led the Warriors 2-1 in an epic playoff series that had all of Oakland holding their breath? Remember the grit-and-grind that had even the most talented opponents shaking with fear? Remember the “old-school” offense that saw Z-Bo and Gasol dominating the post in a way nobody had seen in a long time? That’s the should of the Memphis Grizzlies, and those same things will be the reason why they will be a team to fear in the Western Conference, even after all the controversy and drama that has stared them in the face for so many years
There are more than a few reasons why they were not themselves. They did not have the big Spaniard Marc Gasol. He is their anchor on defense, affecting any shots that find their way toward the rim. He is also their best scorer, as he can put up points from anywhere on the court. Without Marc, the Grizzlies lost much of their identity.
Let’s not forget about Mike Conley, one of the most underrated point guards in the league. He missed countless games for the Grizz last year, and that showed in their record. He controls the pace of the game and provides three-point shooting that the Grizz desperately need. So without Conley, the offense for this team often seemed lost.
Now with both Conley AND Gasol back in the mix this year, why can’t they reach the Western Conference finals like they did in 2013? They have all the parts, a fresh head coach who is ready to prove he can do the job and are playing in a Western Conference that is shallower than it’s been in a long time.
So when you add in the addition of Chandler Parsons (arguably a top ten small forward in the NBA), you get a team that can be even scarier than before. Memphis has a reputation for struggling on the offensive end, as they have consistently lacked a three-point shooter that can spread the floor. Well, the signing of Parsons helps with that, as he can shoot lights out (just like that game in Houston when he made TEN threes in one-half). He also fits into the grizzlies tough play style, being a guy who guards players aggressively.
So when you add up the list of Western Conference contenders, the Memphis Grizzlies should be at the top of that list. Marc Gasol has returned. Mike Conley is healthy and ready to lead the show. And Chandler Parsons is here to add a much-needed spark to the offense. The Grindhouse is back, and it’s ready to get vengeance.