The Grizzlies have not looked like the Grizzlies for a while now, but that may not be a bad thing going into the playoffs.
If you have read or listened to ESPN Page 2 writer/Grantland pioneer Bill Simmons you know about the "Nobody Believes In Us" theory. It's a theory Simmons has pushed in a variety of situations or sports. The "Nobody Believes In Us" Theory is this: when a team is considered down and out, they rally around it. The theory is reserved for underdogs or top dogs that have been faltering going into a big game or series.
I think this theory needs to be renamed to better embody its spirit. That's why it needs to be renamed the "Z-Bo Theory". He embodies the theory more than any other NBA player around at the moment.
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Nobody has ever really believed in Zach Randolph. He's always been fighting against public opinion. When he was in Portland and part of the famous "Jailblazers" squad, he was looked at as a thug, a troublemaker. When he moved on to New York, he was viewed as an overpaid troublemaker that wouldn't pass the ball. In Los Angeles, he was viewed as a troubled veteran that could be on his way out soon. He was always labeled as the talent that couldn't get out of his own way. His back has been against the wall since before he got into the NBA. That is, until he got to Memphis.
Randolph has found a home in Memphis for several reasons, the main being that the Grizzlies have adopted Randolph's and the city's "nobody believes in us" attitude. The team has fed off the idea that people think they aren't good enough since the arrival of Randolph. Under Lionel Hollins and Dave Joerger, they performed better when nobody believed in them and they were backed up against the wall. Nobody believed they would take the Spurs out in 2011. They did it. A good amount of people wrote them off after trading Rudy Gay in 2013 so they made the Western Conference Finals. The same people wrote them off after losing Marc Gasol to an injury last season, but they were
jipped out of a win over the Oklahoma City Thunder because Z-Bo pushed Steven Adams and the NBA didn't like it because it's the Thunder eliminated by the Thunder in the first round playoff series they were never supposed to make.
The Grizzlies are closer to where they thrive after a rough stretch of basketball following the All-Star break. People have stopped believing after a great start to the season. You hear the things like "peaked too early" or "they were never that good". They are in prime "Z-Bo theory" range, now. This could be seen as a bad thing by many, but as shown by the above paragraph, THIS IS WHERE THEY THRIVE. Let them go into the playoffs and be counted out by the masses. I bet it relights the fire that has disappeared for some reason and the real Grizzlies come back out to play.