Welcome back to another edition of Flip This Franchise!
With the first round match-up in the Western Conference of the #7 Memphis Grizzlies and the #2 Denver Nuggets, many skeptics wonder just how the Grizzlies will be able to perform. It is interesting to see just how far the team has come since they were 29-26 at the All-Star Break. Since then, the Grizzlies were able to pick-up OG Anunoby to help at the wing position, as well as having Jimmy Butler return from injury. As a result, the Grizzlies were able to really come together as a team and went on to finish out the season with a record of 45-37. As for the playoffs, it’s now time to see how the Grizzlies performed against Jokic and the Nuggets.
Going into the match-up, the last time a 7-seed had topped a 2-seed to advance to the next round was back in 2010, when the San Antonio Spurs led by Manu Ginobli and Tim Duncan beat Dirk Nowitzki and the Dallas Mavericks, 4 games to 2. This was the only example of a 7-seed beating a 2-seed since the format switched to a best-of-seven series in 2003.
With that said, there wasn’t too much hope that the Grizzlies would be able to pull it off. However, this series with the Nuggets became one of the most entertaining series of the first round, going all seven games. In game 7, the Grizzlies appeared to be locked in all game, holding the lead the entire game. Throughout the game, Demarcus Cousins, continued to show why he was the MVP of the team heading into the playoffs, scoring a team-high in points and rebounds with 26 and 11. Rookie, Cam Reddish, also proved to be a big contributor adding 23 points of his own in 21 minutes of play. Jimmy Butler also helped out on the defensive end grabbing a team-high 5 steals, along with Jaren Jackson Jr. who provided with 3 blocked shots. Ultimately, the Grizzlies would go on to win Game 7 with a score of 110-95, becoming the first team to take out a 2-seed since the 2010 San Antonio Spurs.
Following the match-up with the Nuggets, the Grizzlies faced a gritty Sacramento Kings team, who as the 6-seed, took out the 3-seed Golden State Warriors in a series of 4-2. On the other side of the conference, both the Rockets and Jazz, who were the leading seeds in their respective series were able to take out both teams they faced with ease, so the No. 1, No. 4, No. 6, and No. 7 seeds were the ones left standing in the West. Unfortunately for the Grizzlies, this series did not go as they expected. With the Kings running on a hot-streak with De’Aaron Fox at the helm, the Kings were able to take out the Grizzlies in 4 games to 1, ending the Grizzlies miraculous season, crushing their title hopes. Below I have posted, the entire playoff results, along with who took home the NBA Finals MVP Award.
Overall, Memphis had proved to the rest of the league that they aren’t to be taken lightly in the West. While they ended up only winning one game in their second round match-up with the Kings, they were still able to find a way to take out the Nuggets who came in as the No. 2 seed, the first time this has happened since 2010. Not to mention, they still have a young core with developing stars to build around for years to come.
It will be interesting to see what the Grizzlies decide to do in the offseason. Stay tuned for the next segment of Flip This Franchise where we will evaluate the Grizzlies heading into the offseason, as well as explore what happens in the NBA Draft. Have any predictions or suggestions on what they should do next? Tweet me your opinions @christhorkilsen.
Passionate about marketing for the world’s best brands in sports & entertainment. Truest movie quote: “If you want something, go get it, period.”