2017 was a year of ups and downs for the Memphis Grizzlies in numerous ways. On one hand, the Grizzlies made their seventh consecutive playoff appearance, and they bid farewell to Zach Randolph and Tony Allen to start a new age in Grizzlies basketball. They had a 5-1 start to this season, and David Fizdale’s new-look team appeared to be taking the right steps for success.
Then, chaos broke out.
Health problems plagued the Grizzlies, and David Fizdale was fired. Now, Memphis has a 12-26 record and are ranked 14th in the Western Conference.
Oh, how the mighty have fallen.
But fear not, it’s a new year! So that means there’s hope, right?
There’s still a second half of the season, and an offseason, and then the start to another season later this year. A whole lot can happen in that span of time in the NBA world, and the Grizzlies need to make some resolutions before embarking on this new journey of theirs. These resolutions both impact the present and the future of the Memphis Grizzlies, and they focus on the team as a whole.
1. Find Your Identity
At the beginning of 2017, the Memphis Grizzlies were known as a team with “grit” and “heart.” No matter the circumstances, the Grizzlies made sure to leave it all out on the court, and the Core 4 embodied that trait.
When Zach Randolph and Tony Allen departed, it seems like they took a lot of that identity with them. While it is time to move on from the grit and grind ways of old, the Grizzlies have to find a new identity for their present and future.
It’s entirely plausible for the Grizzlies to combine the essence and mentality of grit and grind with today’s fast-paced NBA, but it will take the right leadership and coaching to achieve that. With so many new faces on this team, it’s time for them to decide what they want to represent. Also, it’s up to team leaders like Mike Conley and Marc Gasol to lead the transition.
Watching the team for the majority of this season, I see a group of guys cloaked in uncertainty and no real sense of identity. While this season may now be focused on tanking, the Grizzlies have to prepare for the future, but they can’t do this until they get a good sense of who they want to be.
2. Separate The Bears From The Cubs
It’s no secret that the Grizzlies have struggled with drafting in recent years. However, they have a few solid younger pieces on the team currently that could positively impact the future of the franchise.
Players like Dillon Brooks, Deyonta Davis and Kobi Simmons all have potential. With so many different types of pieces on the team, though, the Grizzlies need to start deciding who they’re going to stick with and who they’ll discard.
It’s time for the younger players to rise above the ranks and make their spot permanent on the team. With the Grizzlies’ situation, it’s paramount that they have some young talent moving forward.
Some of the pieces they have right now could be used as assets in a trade alongside a more veteran player, or some can add athleticism to a team that has lacked that characteristic for years.
3. Find A Coach, And Stick With Him
I already talked about the Grizzlies’ coaching carousel at the end of 2017, so now it’s time for Memphis to find a coach who will work well with both the players and the front office.
Besides having solid players and a concrete game plan for the future in general, it’s crucial for this team to have stability with its coaching staff. The head coach is at the helm of the team, and his relationship with the front office ultimately affects the team’s success on and off the court.
In 2018, the Memphis Grizzlies have to find a coach who they’re not going to dump in a couple years. They need someone who Marc Gasol and Mike Conley (if both stick around) fully support.
Whoever it may be, for now J.B. Bickerstaff must guide this team through the rest of this tumultuous season. Whatever 2018 brings for the Memphis Grizzlies, it’s surely to be an entertaining ride. Hopefully, the Grizzlies will accomplish some of these goals and begin to rebuild.