One of the more interesting developments through the first half of the 2015-16 NBA season is the decline of the Western Conference as a whole in terms of quality. While the East has improved tremendously with a bevy of teams looking like viable playoff contenders, the West has largely been a disappointment outside of the top-four teams in the conference. The Memphis Grizzlies have largely been the poster-child for that second tier in the West.
Memphis currently sits at the five-seed out West, but that’s a bit of a mirage in terms of what they’ve actually shown through the first half of the season. Their success hasn’t been as plentiful as their positioning in the standing would indicate and, in fact, they’ve shown some troubling signs in the first half of the season. There have been numerous occasions this season where fans have been left to question whether the “Grit-and-Grind” of the Grizzlies is still relevant in the current landscape of the league.
With Zach Randolph noticeably declining, Mike Conley struggling to stay healthy, and an offense still struggling to adapt to the now three-point heavy NBA, the Grizzlies seem like a team that has largely played over their head and simply benefitted from a conference that’s struggling as a whole. Their position in the standings makes it difficult to penalize them too much in terms of their grade, but giving them average marks is undeniably fair considering what they’ve shown in vacuum.
Next: Miami Heat