The Memphis Grizzlies have had a good summer by simply re-signing center Marc Gasol to a five-year, $100M deal. With him back, they keep their core intact, which also features Mike Conley and Zach Randolph. In addition, they also went out and added free agent power forward Brandan Wright. By keeping all of their key pieces together, the Grizzlies certainly have placed themselves in a position to be another competitive playoff team next season. But have they really gotten better? Should they be any more confident in their abilities to lift the Larry O’Brien trophy?
In my opinion, the answer is not really. While it is true that re-signing Marc Gasol is huge, it doesn’t make them better. It just prevents them from getting a whole lot worse. When you consider how well the NBA Champion Golden State Warriors played and the moves that the San Antonio Spurs have made, it’s hard for the Grizzlies to feel like they have really improved their chances of winning a title.
To a certain extent the Grizzlies got some bad luck with Mike Conley and Tony Allen going down in the playoffs, but even so I’m not at all convinced that with those guys healthy they would have won the NBA championship. They would have certainly been better, but they probably wouldn’t have been good enough. Those guys are really important members of that team, but their absence simply wasn’t so huge as to explain the team’s shortcomings in the playoffs.
Probably the only thing the Grizzlies can really have any hope in is Jeff Green waking up and becoming the player they thought he would become when they got him from the Boston Celtics. If he is able to average close to the 17 points per game that he was averaging in Boston, then the Grizzlies will really be cooking with gas. He will be an extra scoring threat that they didn’t have and he will take tremendous pressure off Randolph, Gasol, and Conley.
But assuming Jeff Green doesn’t magically morph into a whole new player, the Grizzlies are probably going to be the same team they were last season. They’ll be very competitive but in the end not good enough to win the championship. As a Grizzlies fan I hope I’m wrong, but this is honestly what I see happening in the 2015-16 season.