A lot was made about point guard Mike Conley’s pricey contract extension that he signed this past off-season, which surprised a few considering the direction the team was heading. During an interview on the radio, Conley was later quoted saying he wanted to bring a championship to Memphis one day.
While Conley’s words could be seen as impactful, it’s worth mentioning the struggles that Memphis has been faced with in years past. Despite qualifying for the playoffs each of the last six seasons, the Grizzlies have only had one real shot at the NBA title which came in 2013. Every other year they have been dealt with an arduous path through the playoffs due to a murders row across the Western Conference.
Last year, I illustrated in a column that the Grizzlies window had closed and that there was no way Memphis would get back to the Western Conference Finals anytime soon. This was going to be the case again this season until Memphis went out and signed Chandler Parsons. Parsons, who at 28, already possesses loads of experience on the court to provide the Grizzlies a boost from beyond the arc as well as a threat to be another versatile big man. In addition to making deals in free agency, Memphis did some work on draft night by selecting Wade Baldwin IV and Deyonta Davis. Both will try to implement depth to a completely depleted roster last year that lacked young stars.
Other complimentary pieces like Andrew Harrison, Troy Williams, Troy Daniels and James Ennis all flashed impressive preseason campaigns. For now, the Grizzlies are a younger version than in past years, but their deficiency to shoot from the perimeter as a team has cost them annually. For the past four seasons, Memphis has finished near the bottom in three-point efficiency as a team, shooting just 32 percent respectively. If Memphis wants to erase signs of skepticism in a loaded Western Conference, then their perimeter shooting must improve, even in the slightest. With veteran guard Tony Allen battling injuries, depth at the shooting guard and small forward position could take its toll. Will this be enough to form themselves as a threat in the West?