The “grit and grind” era in Memphis may be coming to an end. Today, the Grizzlies announced star center Marc Gasol will miss the rest of the season after undergoing surgery to repair a right foot fracture.
Gasol was plagued by foot troubles in early February, so it’s not a huge shock the team decided to shut him down.
But with a bunch of aging vets, in the midst of a soul-search in terms of identity and league standing, what does the immediate future have in store for the Grizz?
Currently, Memphis sits at 5th in the West but faces steep competition from younger squads like the surging Blazers & hungry Jazz to hold onto a playoff spot. If there’s one thing that’s defined Memphis over the last 8 or so years, it’s pride – a “never-say-die” attitude that has no shot of fading away as long as Tony Allen & Zach Randolph are on board.
That said, the championship window is welded shut and as everyone knows by now, Memphis is no longer equipped with enough pieces to contend in the conference.
So who do you retain if you’re GM Chris Wallace? A youth movement looks to be in the cards, as rookie Jarell Martin and seldom-used, second-year guard Jordan Adams are the only young “prospects” on the roster.
Both late first-rounders…who KNOWS if they’re even rotation players!?
It will take at least another year to find out, as coach Dave Joerger will ride the vets to an eventual first or second-round loss in the postseason.
Acquiring mercurial guard Lance Stephenson signals the Grizz still like taking risks but it will be exciting to see how the team decides to re-build the roster considering Mike Conley‘s impending free agency and Gasol’s contract status (4 yr./$80 million remains).
“Grit, grind, repeat”: the motto for basketball in Memphis for the better part of a decade. Sadly, those days have come to an end (in reality, it ended sometime last year).
What will be leftover after the dust settles next offseason? That’s the burning question.