When you evaluate a season, it’s important to remember what your expectations were going in. Expectations are vital - they help set the tone, build anticipation, and give us something to look forward to. As the season and the sports world in general comes screeching to a halt over the spread of the coronavirus, we must remember what we expected of these Memphis Grizzlies when we evaluate their season thus far, whether it resumes or not, regardless of playoff status.
There were three general lines I’d thought that summed up what we thought the 2019-20 Grizzlies would be. Young, fun, and not so good. So far this year, these Grizzlies have delivered on two of those three. They are young - the average age on the roster is 24. They have been fun to watch with their endless highlight reels and big plays. How many times has one player had so many highlights of missed dunks? Not to mention rookie sensation Ja Morant had a game-saving block AND a game-winning layup in a span of 10 games. Memphis has turned into one of the feel-good stories of what has been a strange yet captivating NBA season.
What has surprised us as Grizzlies fans has been the winning. Nobody thought that the Grizzlies were going to realistically compete for a playoff position, yet here they are (or there they were, depending on what happens next), sitting pretty in the eighth seed in the West, 3.5 games clear of the Blazers, Pelicans and Spurs. This team was supposed to only give us hope for the future, sacrificing the present in the process.
What we got instead was the best possible scenario for Grizzlies fans: a young team loaded with talent, built with the future as its focus, but good enough now to avoid the soul-sucking quagmire of rebuilding that teams like the Suns and Kings have been trapped in for the better part of the last decade.
Nobody quite knows what the near-future holds for the Grizzlies and the NBA as a whole. Commissioner Adam Silver originally stated that the NBA would re-evaluate their situation after 30 days, but given the ever-escalating situation we are dealing with, it seems extremely unlikely that basketball returns to us anytime soon.
Additionally, how the NBA will handle their return from this hiatus is yet to be determined as well. Will they finish out the season? Jump straight into the playoffs after potentially months in-between play? We don’t yet know. But we do know one thing. Virus or no virus, playoffs or no playoffs, this season has been a success for the Grizzlies. They have shown us they are well ahead of schedule.
Led by budding stars and an extremely competent front office, the Grizzlies are set up for years to come and this wacky season has been a big first step in the right direction.