2. Marc Gasol/The Memphis Grizzlies
It was supposed to be your typical season in Memphis. Grit N Grind was no longer 100 percent alive following the departures of Tony Allen and Zach Randolph, but Marc Gasol and Mike Conley were still around. Tyreke Evans was going to give them a much needed scoring punch. This was the year Chandler Parsons would be healthy. JaMychal Green was going to step up in place of Randolph. Internal improvement was expected. Things were going to be just fine in Memphis.
They started the season hot. Beating the Pelicans, Warriors, Trail Blazers, and Rockets twice.
Back-to-back losses followed by a season-ending injury to Mike Conley sent the franchise into a tailspin. From Nov. 11 to Jan. 1, the won five games. They didn’t win a single game in February, losing 19 straight from the end of January to mid-March.
They failed to trade Evans at the deadline, botching the perfect opportunity to begin a rebuild.
Injuries are unforeseen. Well, not in the case of Parsons. He was never going to play more than 40 games. But they could not have predicted that Conley would be lost for the season just two weeks in. In response to the season going down the drain, Memphis fired David Fizdale, siding with Marc Gasol in the apparent power struggle.
Singling out one player, Gasol would be the guy would want the reset. First, it would keep Conley healthy, meaning the Grizzlies would have been competitive throughout the season. But Gasol’s reputation took a big hit this season.
He was the loyal Memphis soldier, who stayed in 2015 because he loved his teammates and the organization. The ceiling for Memphis was never higher than the second round, unless they caught multiple break. It didn’t matter to Gasol. He loved the city and franchise.
But in a lost season, frustrations mounted. He openly complained, he pushed out a coach everyone liked, his production dropped. Fans turned on him and wanted him traded in order to speed up the rebuild.
Maybe they can hit reset in the offseason.