With their seven-season playoff streak over, the Memphis Grizzlies held their annual end-of-season media availability Thursday. And much like their season, I’m not sure exactly what to take away from it.
The Grizzlies finished with a 22-60 record. Not surprisingly nor inaccurately, much of the lost season had to do with health — Mike Conley’s Achilles, Chandler Parson’s knees, other various dings to Ben McLemore, Wayne Selden, JaMychal Green, Tyreke Evans. Anytime your top players miss so many games, you’ll have a horrible record.
Which brings us to this: Are the Grizzlies as bad as their 22-60 record indicates? I don’t think so. You could argue that adding a top draft pick to a (presumably) healthy core of Conley, Gasol, Parsons and Dillon Brooks puts you right back in playoff contention next season. And none of that factors in any free agent signings (Evans) or dramatic trades that might completely change the equation. Or if they decide J.B. Bickerstaff isn’t their guy.
Or let me answer the same question a different way: Are the Grizzlies as bad as their 22-60 record indicates? Maybe so. After all, do you want to bet on Conley (or Parsons for that matter) staying healthy all season? Will players have to buy into a whole new coach and system? And what if the Grizzlies snatch defeat from the jaws of victory and strike out on their draft pick? Or what if said pick underperforms?
All of these variables are why Thursday’s media session felt like an exercise in irrelevance to me. I got video of Gasol, Conley, Bickerstaff and Grizz GM Chris Wallace. I didn’t bother with some of the younger guys because I believe some will be elsewhere next season. Honestly, I can’t be sure any of the guys below will be back next season. Bickerstaff could find another job. Wallace could get replaced, though I think that’s unlikely. And if the Grizz feel they can get value for Gasol and/or Conley . . . seeya.
So anyway, at the end of the day — and the end of this post — I’ll let you make up your own mind. Here are a few quick takeaways, followed by the clips:
- Conley and Gasol believe JB Bickerstaff has earned the opportunity to coach next season. JB hopes he gets to continue, and Wallace praised Bickerstaff while hedging on what the timetable is for announcing a coaching hire.
- Conley believes he’ll be ready to go in the fall.
- Gasol is thrilled about Robert Pera’s commitment to Memphis and to the Grizzlies.
- Chris Wallace believes that the Grizzlies can bounce back next season. But what else is he going to say?
See for yourself . . .