Memphis Grizzlies
(Brandon Dill / Getty Images)

The slander and ignoring of the Memphis Grizzlies stops here. It is time for the world to know why this young Grizzlies team should be feared. I’ve not been shy about my fandom in the past, but now is the time to be both a homer and spit facts. Zion Williamson has played 19 games and gets tons of media coverage. Ja Morant and company play pretty good basketball throughout the season, are in position to grab the 8th playoff spot in the West, and media outlets are silent. Enough is enough and it’s time to preach the truth.

Will the Real ROY Please Stand UP

Morant has played out of his mind this year and is the rightful rookie of the year. To the casual, his numbers aren’t eye popping. But 17ppg, 6.9 assists (nice) on 49% shooting as a rookie is insane. Yes, the 3pt shooting could be a little better (36%) but Morant doesn’t shoot 3s enough for it to be a negative. Ja has great playmaking skills and is dangerous on the break and just as deadly in the half-court. Ja is the full package that has helped the Grizzlies get into this position.

Teamwork Makes the Dream Work

It hasn’t just been Ja, everyone on the Grizzlies has proven extremely valuable. Jonas Valanciunas has grown into a big who can hold his own down low and has a respectable 3pt shot. Jaren Jackson Jr. has established himself as the no. 2 guy on the squad and is the perfect mold of a modern stretch defensive big. Dillon Brooks and Brandon Clarke play well above their pay grade.

Together, every member of this Grizzlies team makes some fun as hell basketball. Even the role players are fun to watch. John Konchar? Absolutely. I bet you don’t even know who that is (maybe I’ll start a “Who the Fuck is That Guy” for the NBA). The point I’m trying to make is that everyone on this roster works for each other. After the trade deadline, newly acquired forward Gorgui Dieng admitted how different this team was.

The Schedule

Portland Trialblazers (7/31)

San Antonio Spurs (8/2)

New Orleans Pelicans (8/3)

Utah Jazz (8/5)

Oklahoma City Thunder (8/7)

Toronto Raptors (8/9)

Boston Celtics (8/11)

Milwaukee Bucks (8/13)

So yeah. The Memphis Grizzlies kinda got screwed on the schedule, especially with the final 4 games. I’m usually an optimistic person, but man this is rough. But if there is a bright side to this situation, it’s that the Grizzlies will be coming in fully healthy. All the reports coming out of Orlando say the Grizzlies haven’t lost a step since the season was put on hold. Memphis was shorthanded and having a rough time after the All-Star break, but pulled together some impressive wins. Now, that chemistry will carry over with a fully healthy roster built for the modern fast-paced style.

Conclusion

This Memphis Grizzlies team is super fun to watch. They are way ahead of schedule in their rebuild and are built to make some noise down the line. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not expecting a miracle in the bubble. If the Grizzlies took a game or two against the Lakers I would be ecstatic. But deliberate ignoring of the Grizzlies needs to stop. Stephen A. Smith once said the only reason why Memphis is talked about is because of Zion (skip to 4:28). I’ve had it. Put some respect on the Grizzlies name!