Though the Memphis Grizzlies failed to overcome the Golden State Warriors in their Conference semi-final clash, it’s clear that Taylor Jenkins’ side is very much on an upward trajectory.
Last season was marked by the Grizzlies finishing top of the Southwest division for the first time, and their overall second-place ranking in the Western Conference was another milestone unlocked by the FedExForum team. In other words, Memphis has a team to reckon with.
When it comes to NBA lineups that can realistically compete for a title, there aren’t many pundits and fans that would give the Grizzlies much attention, but they are not a million miles off being a real contender especially if they keep the nucleus of their young roster.
On that score, general manager Zach Kleiman has made it clear he is focused on keeping his top talents for the battles to come.
“We’re not going to have any issues paying anyone who we want to pay. There’s never going to be any issue with retention here.”
“We’re not worried about small-market notions or any of this or that,”
“We’re not going to have any issue whatsoever keeping together whoever we ultimately decide along the way,” Kleiman added.
Clearly, key among those players that have a big part to play in what the Grizzlies can achieve going forward is Ja Morant.
The 22-year-old has had an astounding season, during which he’s posted an average of 27.2 points per game and earned his first NBA All-Star spot and he seems very much committed to the staying with the Memphis Grizzlies for the foreseeable future;
“I’m definitely happy to be here. Memphis is my home,”
“If your [question] is: Do I want to be in Memphis? Hell, yeah.”
There is certainly a sense that the young team that Jenkins has to select from is very much on board with where the Grizzlies are heading, and that’s key to their progress and, as such, the efforts to make sure none of their big players leave is crucial.
The work put in by the team has not gone unnoticed by the key performers in the NBA, with Steph Curry, in particular, singing the praises of the team after Golden State had overcome them in the playoffs;
“I have a lot of respect for every single guy on that team, in terms of how they’re built as a group, the individual talent, they have a lot of energy, a lot of potential in terms of winning at the highest level.”
“They were the higher seed for a reason. They had an amazing regular season and dominated throughout the course of those 82 games. But for us to be able to come out of this series with a dub, there’s definitely respect; there’s definitely an understanding that they made us better.”
That’s a big compliment indeed, and if Memphis continues to show progress in the coming years, then they may well find themselves challenging for the title.