FTF Memphis Grizzlies - 2018 Preseason Evaluation

And so it begins!

Flip This Franchise (FTF) is an eSports Blog written by Chris Thorkilsen about controlling a sports franchise through NBA 2K, Madden, or MLB The Show, all in the hopes of turning a struggling team into a perennial dynasty. With the NBA season in full-swing, we will start with the NBA 2K series.

I decided to go with the Memphis Grizzlies as the starting point for the FTF series. There’s a lot of action around Memphis lately, whether it was losing Marc Gasol to the Raptors or the rise of Jaren Jackson Jr. There’s a big opportunity to build in a small-market city like Memphis.

Established in 1995 as the Vancouver Grizzlies, the team went on to play six seasons in Vancouver, British Columbia before relocating to Memphis in 2001. Since then, the team has stayed in Memphis and became the first of the “big four” professional sports leagues to makes its home in Memphis. While the Grizzlies have yet to win an NBA Championship, the team has posted 10 playoff appearances, including seven straight from 2010-11 to 2016-17. The team has earned only one trip to the Conference finals, which came in 2013, thanks to a roster that included the likes of Marc Gasol, Mike Conley, Tony Allen, and Zach Randolph.

It is now 2019, and Mike Conley remains the only player still listed from that 2013 team. The team recently traded Marc Gasol, who played for the Grizzlies since 2008, for Jonas Valanciunas, Delon Wright, CJ Miles, and a 2024 second-round pick. The team is currently 13th in the Western Conference with a record of 28-40. In that sense, pretty much everyone on the current roster except for the likes of Jaren Jackson Jr. are on the trade-block, yes including Grizzlies veteran Mike Conley. Below I have listed the contracts/players on the current roster that I will be trying to flip in exchange for young talent, draft picks, and additional cap space. It’s important as the interim GM to shed as much cap to build around Jackson Jr.

On The Block:

Mike Conley (PG, 84 OVR, $63m / 2 years, age 31)

Kyle Anderson (SF, 75 OVR, $37.1m / 4 years, age 25)

Chandler Parsons (SF, 75 OVR, $49.2m / 2 years, age 29)

In terms of the plan of action, the first step is going to be getting rid of bad contracts in exchange for young players with potential, cap space, and/or draft picks. Depending on what they can go for on the trade-market, I am looking to ultimately land a first round pick to be used in the 2019 draft. According to 2K, the Grizzlies don’t have a first round pick in 2019; but the 2019 draft is loaded with talent and it will be crucial for the Grizzlies to get a player such as Zion, RJ Barrett, or Cam Reddish to pair with Jackson Jr. Another plan of attack is going to be shedding enough cap space to hopefully land two max contracts in free agency. With a free agency class that includes Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, and other stars, having the cap space to sign a high-caliber player will be crucial.

Ultimately, the goal in all of this is to get the Grizzlies out of the current situation they are in and turn them into a championship team for years to come. Paying attention to player ratings, position fits, salary, and player potential according to NBA 2K will ensure I make the right moves.

Hope everyone enjoys the series and stay tuned for the next blog when I discuss the moves I’ve made before the 2018-19 regular season starts, along with my prediction for how the season will turn out.

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Twitter: @christhorkilsen