(Editor's Note: I don't know if you know this, but the Grizzlies had a lot of players this year. Like...more than any team ever. After taking volunteers to do player evaluations from the staff, I still had to farm some of these out to outside sources. Today's review has been written by Tabitha Richard, @tabnmem, from All Heart In Hoop City)
For my player reviews of the season I bring to you a myriad of players that wore a Grizzlies uniform this year. Out of the six guys who championed the 10-day contract only one still remains on the Grizzlies roster. Collectively, this group of guys barely saw the floor long enough for the fan base or even their teammates to learn their names. Here’s a quick refresher of who these guys were, where they are now and what they brought to the court.
Munford first came to the Memphis Grizzlies on March 16 on a 10-day contract. He was signed to a second 10-day before signing the multi-year deal that made him a stable part of the roster. Munford was named a 2016 D-League All-Star and is responsible for inspiring one of this season’s most entertaining hash tags, #makeupaMEMplayer. Once Munford settled into his role with the Grizzlies he solidified himself as a solid back-up guard.
When Mario Chalmers went down with his Achilles injury it was a dagger to the heart of the Grizzlies fan base. Chalmers was an answer to the Grizzlies’ roster prayers. He could shoot the ball, he could dish the ball. Finding a solid back up guard has been a revolving door position here and Chalmers filled that role perfectly. In the small sampling we have Munford seems to carry the same ability. Munford plays good defense and he takes care of the ball. He’s also responsible for some fantastic highlights with his drive-and-dish assists. In his 14 regular season game sample Munford averaged 1.6 assists; he then averaged 2.5 per game in the playoffs. Let me hit you with a sampling of his smooth assisting.
Xavier Munford with the behind the back pass to Matt Barnes for the one-handed jam. pic.twitter.com/IbRr8mlya4— Grizzlies Nation (@MemGrizNation) April 11, 2016
Overall Munford has the opportunity to be extremely effective in a role that needs filled. Ultimately I would love to see us re-sign Chalmers and use Munford as the best third option we’ve ever had. He did what he needed to this season and for that I give him a pretty solid grade. His signing also gave way to waiving Ryan Hollins and that might just be his greatest accomplishment.
Here’s the quick take on the rest of the "D-league" guys. They didn’t see the court long enough to get grades but that doesn’t mean they don’t deserve memory lane.
“Little Ray” as he was affectionately referred to by Zach Randolph came to the Grizzlies by way of the San Antonio Spurs. During his 20-day stint as a Memphis Grizzly McCallum gave fans plenty to cheer about. Most notably was his performance in the Grizzlies’ defeat of our arch-nemesis, the LA Clippers. In the game McCallum scored 14 points and hit two clutch three-pointers that brought the Forum to their feet.
As of April 1 McCallum is a free agent, where he still remains.
Weber was part of the frantic signings in March to keep the Grizzlies with enough active players to even compete in a game. Weber only spent one 10-day contract with Memphis before heading back to the D-league. Weber played 6 games in a Grizzlies uniform. He had two stand-out performances. The Timberwolves game where he scored 12 points and had 4 assists and his debut performance against the Pelicans with 10 points and 7 assists. His departure was not surprising but his time with Memphis did give him a chance to show his skills.
Weber signed with the Miami Heat on April 10 to a multi-year deal.
Not Stephenson, Stepheson. He was the only big man signed during the madness that was March. There might not be much you remember about Stepheson but you might remember him by his hair. Dude had a solid mop.
He only lasted one 10-day contract, filling in for an injured Chris Andersen. With his departure back to the Iowa Energy, Ray McCallum was signed for his second 10-day. Stepheson did exactly what he was signed to do, he took up space. He averaged 6.5 rebounds over the course of the 4 games he played for the Grizzlies. That included his franchise record-tying 13 offensive rebound performance against the Rockets.
Stepheson is still with the Iowa Energy, the Grizzlies D-leauge affiliate. At the conclusion of the season he was named All-NBA D-League First Team.
Bryce Cotton was yet another player signed to keep enough players on the roster to compete. After playing his 10-day contract the Memphis Grizzlies signed Cotton for the remainder of the season on a hardship exemption so the roster could boast 16 men. He was not eligible to play in the playoffs due to the same rules that allowed him to be signed in the regular season. He was the 28th and final new player to wear a Grizzlies jersey. Cotton only played 5 regular season games, scoring only 4 total points. But hey, he shot 100%. Can’t complain about that!
Cotton is now a Restricted Free Agent.
I’m not going to lie to ya’ll, I had almost forgot we signed the former Tiger to the team in late January from the D-league. Brandan Wright’s injury resulted in Russ Smith being waived to pick up Ryan Hollins. Then a Mike Conley Achilles injury left the Grizzlies frontcourt entirely decimated. He only stayed on the team for the single 10-day contract to fill a need. He averaged 1.6 points per game on about 9 minutes of play.
Williams can now be found playing in Greece. He was also named to the West All-Star team for the 2016 NBA D-League All-Star Game.
The best part of writing this review was being reminded of how many players we got to see step up in big ways this season. Sure, we didn’t make history by having the best overall NBA record but we did make history this season. We made history because we showed the league what Grit-and-Grind is really about. The Grizzlies saw the most players to be on any team in NBA history and we still made the playoffs. They could have easily given up when injury after injury befell our beloved Grizzlies. Instead, they just showed heart, the spirit of this team carried us and that is evident in the performances of the guys I just got to write about. 28 players later the Grizzlies headed to the playoffs for the sixth year in a row and we made our own version of NBA history.