The Memphis Grizzlies have flipped a switch that many teams are hesitant to embrace, often to a fault, they traded their main franchise players away and embarked on a rebuild. Though the Golden State Warrior arrived at the tank organically because of a historic swath of injuries, there are some commonalities here that fans of both teams can learn from.
Grizzlie Bear Blues writer Brendan Smart was kind enough to answer a couple of my questions about what to look for against the Grizzlies today, and offer his perspective on how to endure the painful slow growth that comes with any decent tank job. You can read my side of our Q&A over at Grizzly Bear Blues, and give him a follow on Twitter, if that’s your thing.
1.) As a team that just traded your franchise cornerstones and went full rebuild, is there any advice you’d have to fans of our team that are wrestling with watching a mediocre team?
Brendan Smart: The Memphis Grizzlies were in a unique position. Something that is opposite of Golden State, Memphis couldn’t get over the hump that is the Western Conference Finals with that core four. The front office tried to hold onto “Grit N’ Grind” for the last two seasons, but between injuries to Mike Conley and an aging Marc Gasol, Memphis had to get some form of return from those guys following two losing seasons.
In terms of advice, always stay awake to moves that the organization is making, and try to find if they’re good or bad before reacting. Due to injuries, Golden State and Memphis are in the same boat. While Memphis is healthy, it has a bunch of guys trying to figure out how to win, so Grizzlies fans will have some fun night, but more night like Sunday night in the blowout loss to the Denver Nuggets. If you genuinely care about an organization, a rebuild won’t be too tough on you. Look at each plays progression from night to night, and the losses won’t bog you down too bad.
2.) Who are you most excited to watch develop this season for the Grizzlies?
Easy answer: Jaren Jackson Jr., and Ja Morant;
Hard answer: Finding guys that will play roles around those two for the next three seasons.
Finding ‘the other guys’ to surround a young core makes things easier when winning sooner rather than later. Golden State should know about that easily. For Memphis, it will be guys like Dillon Brooks, De’Anthony Melton, and Josh Jackson. All three at the two guard spot, and can play some three.
With Brooks, it comes down to his consistency each night. With Melton, it’s about how soon does he get more minutes because he has the tools to make it on this roster.
And Jackson it seems like he is ready now, but is going through a career rebuild with Grizzlies G-League affiliate Memphis Hustle where he is dominating. Who makes it out of those three, and more importantly makes the team better heading into next season is huge for Memphis to build on this season.