Imagine it now: the Grizzlies, bolstered by the full-strength returns of Mike Conley, Marc Gasol and Chandler Parsons, completely changed from their Grit-n-Grind past by new coach J.B. Bickerstaff and youngsters Luka Doncic and Dillon Brooks, make a return to the playoffs in 2019. It suddenly looks like the end of Gasol and Conley’s partnership will be competitive, hope no longer lost in Memphis.
That’s a best-case scenario. Doncic may take a while to adjust to the NBA game, become an impactful defender, and become a winning player. But you can’t dream up better insulation in this year’s lottery than this Grizzlies roster, with the pedigree Conley and Gasol bring and the fair bit of young talent Memphis has in place.
The Grizzlies belched out the league’s No. 27 offense this year, rarely got out in transition for easy shots, and were even worse in the half-court, scoring just 89.2 points per 100 possessions, per Cleaning the Glass. A better Gasol and a healthier Conley are the biggest difference-makers heading into next season for Memphis, but Doncic has the potential to transform the team and push it into the modern era.
If the Suns take Ayton, the Grizzlies’ consolation prize is game-changing.