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Marc Gasol.

The Memphis Grizzlies are taking a huge step backwards this year

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The Memphis Grizzlies are in the middle of a horrible slump after losing their eighth consecutive game on Sunday at home to the Brooklyn Nets. 

They currently sit in 12th position in the Western Conference and face the prospect of missing out on the playoffs for the first time in eight years. 

The campaign started so well for the Grizzlies as they began 5-1 and looked like they would seamlessly transition from the successful 'Grit and Grind' era after the departures of Zach Randolph and Tony Allen in the summer. 

That winning start, however, only served to cover up a lot of flaws on the Memphis roster but they have all been exposed during this horrible run. 

Subpar roster

The Grizzlies roster lacks real talent and depth to compete with the best teams in the league and the blame for that should lie with the front office.

The moves they've made in recent years haven't worked out and they have taken too many gambles on players with health problems and limited ability. 

The decision to sign Chandler Parsons to a four-year $94 million contract increasingly looks like one of the worst deals in league history as he's battled knee injuries for the last three years and is yet to string a consistent run of games together for the franchise. 

Memphis Grizzlies v Washington Wizards

Memphis simply hasn't done enough to surround star players Marc Gasol and Mike Conley with the right pieces.

Both players signed long-term extensions when they hit free agency in the last two years and showed faith in the organization that they would put together a competitive squad but that has failed to happen. 

The likes of Parsons, JaMychal Green and Brandan Wright haven't performed to expected levels and Mario Chalmers, Ben McLemore, Andrew Harrison and others are not proving to be good enough right now and that is why they find themselves in a massive hole.

Frustration

Losing leads to frustration and disharmony in the camp and we saw the first signs of this after Sunday's 98-88 loss to the Nets. 

Head coach David Fizdale surprisingly elected to leave Gasol on the bench for the entire fourth quarter and it led to an angry reaction from the Spaniard as he made his feelings public after the game.

"I do not know the why," Gasol said of not playing down the stretch, per ESPN. "It's a first for me, trust me, and I don't like it one bit. I'm more [ticked] than I can show and frustrated.

"If I'm not on the floor, then I'm not valued. I'm sure [the coaching staff] knew that would hurt me the most."

This isn't the first time the center has expressed his frustrations to the media as he recently called out his teammates for their defensive efforts, describing it as "embarrassing and sad".

Dallas Mavericks v Memphis Grizzlies

Teams need cohesion to win and there definitely has to be a level of trust between a head coach and his star player and this could put a dent in the relationship between Gasol and Fizdale moving forward. 

Benching the three-time All-Star was certainly a statement of some kind from the coach and it could possibly have been some frustration at his recent performances.

The 32-year-old has had to carry the load with Conley out and has been shooting 39.4 percent over the last 10 games. 

Despite that, the veteran is still averaging career-highs across the board with 19.1 points, 9.1 rebounds, 4.1 assists and 1.7 blocks per game.

Memphis Grizzlies v Dallas Mavericks

He is still the best player on the team and having him sit out an entire fourth quarter seems ludicrous, especially when you're on a losing run.

With the former Defensive Player of the Year admitting in the summer that he may consider his future if they don't compete, making him unhappy is the worst thing they can do.

Backwards

With the entire league embracing the 'small ball' and pace and space era, the Tennessee-based franchise simply isn't keeping up with the times and are being left behind.

They lack three-point shooters and have no real threat from beyond the arc which is crucial in today's NBA in order to be successful. 

Memphis Grizzlies v Atlanta Hawks

They seem to be going in the opposite direction to the rest of their opponents and it could result in a year where they enter the lottery instead of the postseason.

Fizdale had an impressive first season as a rookie head coach and deserves to be given the benefit of the doubt and time to turn things around. 

Getting Conley back on the floor will be key as he will plug many of the holes they have right now in terms of shooting and playmaking.

It's only November but the signs are not looking for Memphis and it could turn out be a long season.

Topics:
Memphis Grizzlies
Southwest Division
Western Conference
NBA
Marc Gasol
Mike Conley

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