Welcome back to another edition of Flip This Franchise!
As a quick refresher from the last blog, the Grizzlies went into the trade deadline with a record of 29-26, just shy of the 8th seed in the Western Conference. The team also went on to trade for young guard OG Anunoby and a 2024 1st Round pick in exchange for the Pacers’ lottery protected 2020 1st Round Pick and veteran forward Joe Johnson. With a banged up Jimmy Butler, the Grizzlies were in desperate need for a backup wing player to help fill the void while Butler nursed a broken leg. With the acquisition of Anunoby, things were looking better in Memphis, but time would only tell if they would be able to sneak in to the playoffs.
As the rest of the regular season grew on, the Grizzlies went on to play great as a team in Butler’s absence. Players like Caris LeVert and Cam Reddish became high volume scorers off the bench, with LeVert posting a season high 30 PTS on an efficient 12-14 from the field, while Reddish contributed with 27 PTS in a 141-117 win against the Philadelphia 76ers, who finished with the best record in the league. The Grizzlies continued to go on a 7 game win streak to eventually finish with a record of 45-37, earning the 7th seed in the Western Conference.
This finish comes just one season after the Grizzlies ended with an opposite record of 37-45, not exactly sure what the future may entail. After one year, we were able to rebuild our way back into the playoffs in an especially competitive Western Conference. But while this feat may be encouraging, there is still more work to be done.
Before we release the playoff schedule and final regular season standings, let’s take a look at some of the award winners from the past season.
MVP: Ben Simmons, PG, Philadelphia 76ers - 19.8 PPG, 9.6 RPG, 10.1 APG, 1.4 SPG
ROY: Zion Williamson, PF, Dallas Mavericks - 19.2 PPG, 9.4 RPG, 5.1 APG, 2 BPG
SMOY: R.J. Barrett, SG, Boston Celtics - 16.8 PPG, 5.2 RPG, 4.7 APG, 1 SPG
DPOY: Giannis Antetokounmpo, SF, Milwaukee Bucks - 26.7 PPG, 11.9 RPG, 6.3 APG, 1.9 SPG
MIP: Demarcus Cousins, C, Memphis Grizzlies - 23.8 PPG, 11.6 RPG, 3 APG, 1.9 SPG
COY: Brett Brown, Philadelphia 76ers - 65-17
Memphis Grizzlies Honors
3rd Team All-NBA: Demarcus Cousins
2nd Team All-Rookie: Cam Reddish
As a league, the younger players shined in terms of the accolades, with Ben Simmons taking home his first MVP award, Zion winning ROY, R.J. Barrett taking home 6MOY, and Giannis as DPOY. Meanwhile, Grizzlies marquee free agent signing from 2019 DeMarcus Cousins took home the NBA’s Most Improved Player, leading the team in points and rebounds. Not to mention, Cousins was also 3rd Team All-NBA. Likewise, Cam Reddish earned 2nd Team All-Rookie honors. With Butler out, Reddish was able to step up his play, averaging 13.1 PPG on 46% shooting from the field.
Aside from all the accolades, let’s now take a look at the seeding for both conferences heading in to the playoffs.
Stay tuned for the next segment of Flip This Franchise where we will find out what happened in the playoffs as well as what to expect for next season. Will the Grizzlies have what it takes to up-end Jokic and the Nuggets? Tweet me your playoff predictions as well as who you think will in the NBA Finals @christhorkilsen
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