365 days. 8,760 hours. 525,600 minutes. 31,536,000 seconds. One year.
Life is lost, babies are born, the Earth revolves around the Sun and a whole lot of craziness ensues on the rock we all call home during that time period. In the smaller realm of the National Basketball Association, change is inevitable over such a time span. LeBron James went from Miami back home to Cleveland, Derek Fisher went from a back-up point guard to a head hoach and Jason Levien went from celebrating being one of the leaders of ESPN's Best Professional Sports Franchise to out of a job with that same franchise.
Like I said, crazy, right?
The Front Office upheaval was not the only example of change for the Grizzlies in the past year. The adversity of injuries, pieces of the roster coming and going, and the uncertainty of Dave Joerger within the organization are just examples of the ebbs and flows that can happen as the seasons change.
It is nice that the Grizzlies even staying in Memphis is no longer a major question in the minds of fans, but still, uncertainty is not a quality of the best organizations. From stability and power to chaos and back again several times over is a remarkable jump, calling to question what in the world could happen next?
As a part of SB Nation's #12MonthsFromNow theme day, let's take a fun, speculation-filled look at where Memphis will be on August 13th, 2015 after the 2014-2015 season.
- Marc Gasol will be resting comfortably in Memphis after signing a 4 year, $68 million contract. It will be deserved rest and money after the best season of his professional career; career highs in points (17 per game), rebounds (8 per game), and blocks (2 per game), in addition to 4 assists per game will result in a 2nd team All-NBA selection and an All-Star Appearance, further solidifying Marc as a top 10 player in the Association.
- Mike Conley will also be resting after an 18 points and 7 assists per game campaign gets him to the All-Star Game in a less-than-ideal way; both Damian Lillard (injury) and Tony Parker (injury...ok, rest) will not participate in the contest, opening up a spot for Conley to showcase his skills. And showcase he will; Conley will participate in, and win, the All-Star Game skills competition.
- Zach Randolph will fit into his new contract with a lesser season according to his standards, averaging only 16 points and 9.5 rebounds per game. No All-Star Game for Z-Bo, but he will again prove his worth as the Grizzlies compete for Western Conference Playoff seeding (more on this later).
- The most effective Grizzlies role player from the season that just concluded will not be a wing. It will actually be Kosta Koufos, who will put up Denver-esque numbers (9 points, 6 rebounds) in 22 minutes per game as a sixth-man type big off the bench. He also will have started at both the 4 and the 5 for the Grizzlies on his way to a 3 year, $16 million contract with the Los Angeles Lakers, who will also sign LaMarcus Aldridge in the 2015 off-season.
- Tayshaun Prince will have already departed Memphis in a trade of himself, Quincy Pondexter, and the rights to Janis Timma to the Denver Nuggets for Danilo Gallinari and a 2017 2nd round pick in January of 2015. Gallinari will show some flashes of his former self in Denver early in the season, and the Grizzlies will respond in kind with acquiring the scoring wing who can help space the floor from both forward positions.
- The trade will disrupt the Grizzlies' roster flow for a few weeks, resulting in a losing streak that will put Memphis in the 7 seed with 25 games to go, 4 games behind the 4 seed. Zach Randolph will pick Memphis up, as he has done in the past, and have his best games of the season when needed most. A 19-6 finish later, Memphis will get to the 4 seed.
- The Grizzlies will have just completed a season very similar to the previous ones: competitive, but unfulfilled. A 53-29 record will land the Grizzlies in the 4 seed in the crowded Western Conference, and a first round match-up with the explosive Portland Trailblazers. This is a good first round opponent for the Grizzlies, and they will dispatch the Trailblazers in 5 games. Fans will get excited, fans will think a run is on the way...
- But the Grizzlies, again, will be unable to upend the number one seed Oklahoma City Thunder, who will defeat Memphis in seven games in the 2nd round. Disappointment will rule, but another playoff appearance and series win will have kept fans happy for the most part.
- The head coach of the Grizzlies, Dave Joerger, will feel pretty good about the roster moving forward into 2015-2016. This starting lineup is pretty balanced- Conley/Tony Allen/Gallinari/Randolph/Gasol, with a bench unit of Nick Calathes/Courtney Lee//Vince Carter/Jarnell Stokes/Jon Leuer will be sound. Add on Jordan Adams, Beno Udrih, Jamaal Franklin, and Alexis Ajinca as a free agent big-man signing, and you've got the making of the right mix of old and young, defense and offense.
- Robert Pera will have earned my trust by this point a year from now. When all of the craziness of May was unfolding, and rumors of Mike Miller player coaching and Dave Joerger head sets had many concerned that Pera was a bit...out there...it was hard to envision a point where Pera would ever convince me he made the right decision. Levien and company had made sound decision after sound decision. Why disrupt that?