Grinding Grizzlies


The 2015-16 season has been a rough one to say the least for the Memphis Grizzlies. The biggest hit came in the form of losing star center Marc Gasol, who back in February left a game against Portland with a foot injury. Gasol was listed as questionable before the game due to pain in his foot, but decided to give it a go anyway. After only 11 minutes played he was taken off the court, later to be told he had suffered a non-displaced Type II fracture of the navicular bone in his right foot. There was no timetable immediately for his return, but it was determined he would miss the remainder of the season. A definite blow not only to Gasol, who had just recently signed a 5 year, $110 million contract with the franchise before the season, but to the organization as a whole who now had to find a way to replace their starting center.

With key role players being traded away, the Grizzlies had to start piecing lineups together. Switching and interchanging players out left and right, Memphis has used 28 different players this year. Turmoil would strike again in March when starting point guard Mike Conley Jr and Mario Chalmers both went down with Achilles injuries. Conley who has been the Grizzlies main ball handler since 2009-10, was averaging 15.3 points per game and 6.1 assist before team doctors shut him down completely in April. Chalmers was coming off the bench after being traded from the Miami Heat, but was showing he could be a major part of the teams success when he put up a near triple double in January against the Thunder. Matt Barnes, who was acquired by trade at the beginning of this year, has been playing well as of lately, putting up 24 points and 15 rebounds in a tough loss to the Warriors yesterday. Lance Stephenson who was brought in from the Los Angeles Clippers, has been putting up 14ppg off the bench for Memphis, a huge improvement from his stint with the Clippers where he was only averaging 4.7 points a game.

As the playoffs approach, its still a shock to some fans that Memphis has continued to fight even with the odds not in their favor. Losing the face of your franchise, that being Marc Gasol, can leave the locker room with a feeling of hopelessness. Replacing players of that magnitude is never easy, but somehow Memphis has found a way to make it work. Leaders like Tony Allen, who has been the walking definition of the defensive minded Grizzlies, and star Power Forward Zach Randolph, will have to help bring together the injury ridden Memphis team if they hope to make any noise in this years playoffs. Even after losing so many key players, the Grizzlies have continued to grind and are sitting at 6th in the Western Conference. Only two games remain on the schedule, one being against a red hot Golden State, the other against the 4th seed LA Clippers. The Grizzlies will have to buckle down and try to win these crucial Western Conference match ups if they want to have any momentum heading into the post season.

About Emanuel Godina

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