In the seven seasons between 2010-2011 and 2017-2018, the Memphis Grizzlies made the playoffs seven times.
Although they didn’t make it past the Western Conference Finals in that span, the culture in Memphis shifted from a perennial loser who made the postseason just three times in the franchise's previous 15 seasons to a legitimate contender.
But, last year was a complete disaster.
The team went 22-60 and dealt with a number of catastrophic injuries, including one that held star point guard Mike Conley to just 12 contests. Coach David Fizdale also lost his job midway through the season, which created even more turmoil.
But, after drafting Jaren Jackson Jr. with the fourth overall pick in this summer’s draft, trading for Garrett Temple, signing free agent Kyle Anderson and with their young slew of players maturing, the Grizz could be in store for a resurgent campaign in 2018-2019.
As seen in the past, Memphis lives or dies with the play of Conley, who is the catalyst of their offense. Heading into the upcoming season, Conley is extremely optimistic after what he called the "most frustrating”year of his life".
“It was the most frustrating year or my life, of my career, because I felt coming into that season, I was on another level,” Conley told Michael Lee of Yahoo Sports. “Mentally, physically, my game. Everything was feeling, like, I’ve never played as good of basketball, I’ve never felt this good going into that season and for that to happen, it put me all the way down.”
Although Conley is still taking things slow physically, he has progressed from a mental standpoint.
“We’re doing the right things. Taking things slow. And giving me time to really be ready to go for training camp. Mentally, I’m there. I’m ready. Physically, I feel good. It’s just my body has to catch up,” Conley said.
The point guard is as excited as ever to start the new campaign.
“Being a dad, being low-key out of the way, it gave me a perspective like, ‘Hey. This is great, I get to spend time with my kids, even though this is a down part of my career.’ But also at the same time, I’ve got a new re-tooled drive. … Knowing that I took care of the issue, we got the issue figured out, hopefully, going forward, I won’t have any flare-ups. I can just play basketball like I’m used to playing and I’ve got a free year, another year, added to my career, so I’m excited," Conley exclaimed.
Judging by their roster and their presumed overall health, it’s safe to assume that the Grizzlies will find much more success in 2018-2019. If Conley can avoid any major injuries, they have the on-paper talent to even emerge as a playoff-caliber club.