Team Spotlight: Memphis Grizzlies

Posted on May 03 2020

With 10 playoff appearances and a trip to the 2013 Western Conference finals, the team known as the Memphis Grizzlies is a Western Conference NBA (National Basketball Association) competitor. From 2010 to 2011 and from 2000 to 2017, a franchise record seven straight postseason births were accomplished.

Originally called the Vancouver Grizzlies, in 1995, the franchise was established. In 2001, they relocated to Memphis. At the banks of the Mississippi River, in the Pyramid Arena, the Grizzlies played from 2001 to 2004. The current home of the Grizzlies is FedEx Forum, and has been since the autumn of 2004. In the state of Tennessee, the Grizzlies are the only professional basketball team.

 Team Spotlight - Memphis Grizzlies

Together, the FedEx Forum and the Grizzlies join as the 2013 Best Overall Professional Franchise. Their “Fans First” service is unprecedented, and undoubtedly the reason behind ESPN Magazine assigning this ranking to the team/arena.

In 2012, the team was acquired by Robert J. Pera (a group acquired ownership). Including a 2012 to 2013 series winning campaign, the team has experienced unprecedented success under his guidance.

The Era of Pau Gasol

Pau Gasol (NBA Rookie of the Year) was acquired in the 2001 NBA draft. During the same draft, the Grizzlies acquired Jason Williams and Shane Battier. GM Billy Knight was, however, let go regardless of the strong draft class. In 2002, Jerry West was hired as general manager. He would receive NBA Executive of the Year for the 2003 to 2004 season. After an 0-8 start to the season, head coach Sidney Lowe was removed. Vital to this team's success would be players James Posey and Mike Miller. Grizzlies coach Hubie Brown was hired during the 2002 to 2003 season. He would go on to win NBA Coach of the Year.

All of these changes resulted in numerous improvements for the team.

Coaching Change

During the 2004 to 2005 season, head coach Brown stepped down. Replacing him would be Mike Fratello who helped advance the team to the post season thanks to a winning record. Unfortunately, the Phoenix Suns would take the Grizzlies out. During the 2005 off season, veterans were added, and the team revamped.

Among other unfortunate circumstances, however, while playing in the World Championships, star player Gasol broke his left foot. Eventually, Tony Barone, Sr. would replace Fratello as interim coach.

More changes were to come in the years 2007 to 2010. Among them were personal problems involving big price tag players, firing and replacing of coaches, GM's, and more.

Are Things Looking Up?

For the first time in five years, the Grizzlies enjoyed postseason play during the 2010 to 2011 season. This season also celebrated the 10th year of Memphis basketball. So impressive was the team now that they became known both nationally and locally for their "Grit and Grind" basketball style of play.

New players, a few struggles, but improvement overall was experienced from 2011 through 2016, when the era known as Grit and Grind closed its door.

Unfortunately, from there through 2019, a decline was evident. But a Grizzlies’ reconstruction was announced by owner Robert Pera at the end of the 2018 to 2019 season. Chris Wallace, GM, was relocated to a new role and head coach J.B. Bickerstaff was let go. New head coach Taylor Jenkins was announced in 2019 as well as GM Zachary Kleiman and team president Jason Wexler.

Who knows what's on the horizon for the Memphis Grizzlies?

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