Memphis Grizzlies History
The Memphis Grizzlies had a strong 2005-06 season, but fell in the playoffs to an outstanding Dallas Mavericks team. They were swept in four games extending their playoff game losing streak to twelve games. Although they did finish 49-33, in a conference with the San Antonio Spurs, Dallas Mavericks, New Orleans/Oklahoma City Hornets, and the Houston Rockets. In a competitive Southwest Division, the Memphis Grizzlies had a strong regular season with a few players winning awards, but it wasn’t enough for the playoffs.
Forward/center, Pau Gasol, was the first player ever, to make it to the All-Star team for the Memphis Grizzlies. His average of 20 points and 10 rebounds a game helped the team and its new players compete with the best of the NBA. Mike Miller also contributed heavily winning the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year Award coming off the bench and making the most 3-pointers on the team. Despite the accolades, the new additions brought to the team did not make a difference.
In an effort to bring more maturity and playoff experience to the team, Jerry West obtained players Bobby Jackson, Eddie Jones, and Damon Stoudamire to replace Bonzi Wells, Jason Williams, James Posey, and Stromile Swift. Wells ended up with the Sacramento Kings, Williams and Posey moved to the Miami Heat, and Swift signed with the Houston Rockets.
Maybe the only player to contribute was Eddie Jones while Stoudamire saw some action, but was forced to battle through injuries. Jackson also didn’t play up to expectation because he was very inconsistent sometimes scored in double digits or not at all. It didn’t help either when he was in-and-out of the starting lineup and switching from point to shooting guard.
Players who are to be free agents next season are Chucky Atkins, Bobby Jackson, Lorenzen Wright and Antonio Burks. Atkins might be signed as a backup to Damon Stoudamire while Wright may have to take a sizable pay cut to keep playing in his hometown of Memphis. If the Grizzlies lose any or all of these players, though, they won't be crying about it.
What’s next for the Memphis Grizzlies? Jerry West might say nothing other than something needs to be changed. West has expressed his disapproval of how the team has played and simply wants players to play better. He has said, “We need our better players to play like better players.” It’s true because West has assembled a good core of players in Pau Gasol, Lorenzen Wright, Mike Miller, and Shane Battier.
The core players, in addition to the new, were outplayed and out-hustled in their playoff series with the Dallas Mavericks. A low post presence was needed as rebound after rebound went to Dallas. On top of Dallas’ new defensive scheme from coach Avery Johnson and their already trigger-happy offense, the Memphis Grizzlies didn’t have a chance. The Memphis Grizzlies do expect to return to next year’s postseason. Hopefully, they don’t finish with the same outcome.
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