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Coming off the best regular season in franchise history followed by a run all the way to the Conference Finals, the Memphis Grizzlies are hungry for more. In Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol, the Grizzlies have the best low-post combination in the NBA. And with former Heat sharpshooter Mike Miller draining jumpers from outside the arc and Mike Conley, Jr. cementing his status as one of the league’s top playmakers, the Grizzlies are loaded up and ready for a run to the Finals.
A Brief History of the Memphis Grizzlies
Coming into the league in 1995 alongside the Toronto Raptors, the Grizzlies played in Vancouver for just six seasons before making the move south to Memphis, Tennessee. Struggling as most expansion teams do, the Grizzlies didn’t make their first post-season appearance until the 2003-2004 season after bringing in the legendary Jerry West to run the operation.
West, best known as the architect of the Lakers dynasties of the 80s and early 2000s and for being the image on the NBA logo, brought instant credibility to the fledgling Grizzlies by building around Pau Gasol, Jason Williams and coach Hubie Brown. With that core intact, the Grizzlies reached three consecutive playoffs.
After a rebuilding period, the Memphis Grizzlies exploded into contention in the 2010-11 season by playing a tough-nosed, defense-first brand of basketball with a core of Rudy Gay, Marc Gasol (who, interestingly, had been involved in a trade for his brother) and Zach Randolph. Defeating a perennial contender in the San Antonio Spurs before bowing to the rival Oklahoma City Thunder, the Grizzlies had finally arrived.
A heartbreaking loss in the first round of the 2012 playoffs to the upstart Los Angeles Clippers left a bitter taste in the mouths of the Grizzlies and their fans. In 2012-2013, the team responded by going 56-26 in the regular season and taking down the Clippers then the Thunder to secure a Conference Final match-up with the Spurs.
Primed to Contend
Returning the core of a group that came within one red-hot Spurs team of a trip to the NBA Finals, the Grizzlies didn’t need to make drastic moves in the off-season. The team added Miller, Kosta Koufus and Fab Melo to the frontcourt rotation to spell Gasol and Randolph but perhaps the Grizzlies most important personnel move was the re-signing of defensive specialist and emotional leader Tony Allen to a multi-year deal.
In Robert Pera, the Grizzlies have an aggressive, forward-thinking new owner who’s already shown his willingness to gamble big by handing Dave Joerger his first NBA head-coaching job. From an X’s and O’s perspective, there’s little question around the league that Joerger is up to the challenge. If the young coach can also manage the big-time personalities that accompany the big-time talent on the Memphis roster, the Grizzlies are going places. Get out to FedExForum and get in on the action with guaranteed savings from ScoreBig.com