Even in the wake of an unceremonious gentleman’s sweep, fans of the Memphis Grizzlies believe in the “North Star” of GM Zach Kleiman and the front office.
No, the season didn’t end the way anyone wanted it to. But the fact that Memphis was in a position to earn valuable playoff scar tissue at all, considering the fact they were the #9 seed entering the 2021 Play-In Tournament, is a pretty seismic success. One of the youngest rosters in the NBA, led by one of the youngest coaching staffs and front offices, found a way to get by Gregg Popovich, Steph Curry, and snag a win over Rudy Gobert in Utah. No, it’s not a playoff series win. But it is one heck of a start to this next generation of Grizzlies basketball for Ja Morant and company.
Fans agree. According to the most recent SB Nation Reacts survey, a full 100 percent of Grizzlies fans are confident the team is headed in the right direction. That’s held steady since last week and up from 88 percent the week before.
The offseason always comes, and when the season ends with a loss it still stings. But Memphis can rest easy knowing the Grizzlies franchise is in good hands.
The biggest story throughout the NBA this playoff season has been how teams try to adjust after key injuries. Memphis understands this to an extent - getting Jaren Jackson Jr. back to what he was before his meniscus injury was a priority (and it remains one moving forward). But beyond the Grizzlies, Some of the game’s biggest stars have been hit by injuries as their team fights through an opening-round matchup.
According to NBA fans around the league, the most costly injury has been to Los Angeles Lakers’ star Anthony Davis. The big man was picked by 31 percent of fans, beating out Dallas Mavericks star Luka Dončić with 23 percent.
Every game in the NBA playoffs feels like the most important of the season, but some are clearly more important than others. 43 percent of fans believe winning Game Four when down in the series 2-1 is the most crucial “must-win” game, beating out exclusively elimination games, which was picked by 36 percent of fans.
Memphis would probably agree with this assessment. After losing Game Three at home and going down 2-1 entering Game Four, the Grizzlies needed to even things out before returning to Utah. The Jazz of course squashed those hopes. But if Memphis had found a way to win, they would have made it to a Game Six back at home for sure and a shot at extending the series even to a Game Seven. Utah made sure that did not occur.
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