How does a team go 2-2 on the week, end the week on a 2-game win streak and still drop two spots in Marc Stein's ESPN power rankings? Quality. That's how.
After making the Western Conference finals, the Memphis Grizzlies are expected to handle two bottom-dwellers in the Sacramento Kings and Los Angeles Lakers. What they're not supposed to do is be man-handled by the Indiana Pacers and Toronto Raptors. Though they ended the week on a 2-game win streak, I expected the Grizzlies to be lower in the rankings due to to the quality of the losses compared to the wins, but Stein was kind with the ranking.
One thing Stein did point out was the "re-emergence" of Zach Randolph. Since the birth of Z-Bo jr., Randolph has averaged 19 points on 55 percent shooting and 9.6 rebounds. Coincidentally in that time span, outside of the Pacers game, the Grizzlies have begun to look like there former selves. #PoundThatJuntInside
Other Power Rankings:
SB Nation - 14 (12)
The Grizzlies continue to be largely mediocre. They lost in blowout fashion twice last week before coming up with two rather uninspiring victories and haven't been over .500 yet this year. Things won't get much easier, with four games coming up against four of the best in the West.
USA Today - 14 (15)
If Tony Allen keeps shooting so well, he might lose his reputation as a defender.
Yahoo! Sports - 14 (10)
The Grizzlies reached .500 with a win in Sacramento. Memphis is on the road against the Clippers and Warriors next.
NBA.com - 18 (16)
The Grizzlies have won two straight games for the first time this season, and in Sacramento on Sunday, they finally got strong offensive games from Mike Conley, Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol on the same night. They held the Lakers and Kings to just 94 points per 100 possessions over the weekend, but that was the Lakers and Kings. These next three opponents will really test that defense.
CBS Sports - 20 (23)
This team could drive a tank through a janitorial store and not hit any buckets. See how forced that analogy was? That's like the Grizzlies' offense.