Welcome back to another edition of Flip This Franchise!
To quickly recap from the previous blog, the Grizzlies went on to trade OG Anunoby and a ’25 2nd Round Pick for Mikal Bridges. Additionally, the Grizzlies went on to sign Dewayne Dedmon to help provide depth at the C position, while Cousins and Robinson remain out from injuries.
With a record of 28-24 as the 5th seed in the Western Conference, things could be a lot worse for the Grizzlies, who had been starting 74 OVR Tarik Black at C to help fill the void for Cousins/Robinson. With the new additions to the roster, it will be interesting to see how the team will be able to perform throughout the rest of the season.
Moving forward, the Grizzlies went on to keep pace in the West for the rest of the season, while also having their fair share of difficulties as well. Memphis went on to finish with an overall record of 44-38, ending up as the 6th seed in the Western Conference heading into the playoffs. The Denver Nuggets, who finished with a record of 60-22, claimed the top spot, with the Lakers, Rockets, Warriors, Spurs, Grizzlies, Thunder, and Jazz following in that order. In terms of the Eastern Conference, the Milwaukee Bucks led by the Greek Freak finished with a record of 54-28 to take the top spot, with the Celtics, Nets, Hawks, 76ers, Raptors, Magic, and Bulls following respectively. With the Bucks domination, it comes as no surprise for who took home the MVP award for the season.
MVP: Giannis Antetokounmpo, SF, Milwaukee Bucks – 25.8 PPG, 6.1 APG, 10.7 RPG, 1.9 BPG
ROY: Anthony Edwards, SG, Nashville Stars – 17 PPG, 3.3 APG, 3.9 APG, 1.4 SPG
SMOY: R.J. Barrett, SF, Boston Celtics – 17.6 PPG, 5.4 APG, 5 RPG, 1.2 SPG
DPOY: Giannis Antetokounmpo, SF, Milwaukee Bucks – 25.8 PPG, 6.1 APG, 1.5 SPG, 1.9 BPG
MIP: Cam Reddish, SF, Memphis Grizzlies – 16.7 PPG, 3.2 APG, 3.8 RPG, 1.6 SPG
COY: Mike Malone, Denver Nuggets – 60-22
This marks the second year in a row that a Grizzlies player has won the NBA’s Most Improved Player award with Cam Reddish taking home the honors this year after Cousins did the year before. Currently, Cousins is averaging a double-double with 21.8 PPG and 10.9 PPG, while also leading the team in PPG.
Reddish on the other end, is doing an exceptional job of backing-up Jimmy Butler, who is also providing quality minutes and averaging 20 PPG, second on the team in scoring behind Cousins. Reddish follows third in PPG behind both these players and has solidified himself as a very solid young piece on this team moving forward. Currently improving to an 84 OVR in just his second season, the sky is the limit in terms of how high Reddish’s potential can go up moving forward. Not only that, but Reddish also is shooting at a highly efficient clip from 3PT at 41% from beyond the arc on the season, which comes in at 22nd overall in the league. The guy in front of him on that list? Malcolm Brogdon, who has had a solid first season for the Grizzlies, shooting 42% from 3PT, while contributing in different ways, averaging 12.6 PPG, 5.3 APG, and 4.2 APG.
Overall, the development of the Grizzlies from last season to this season has been similar in terms of record (45-37 vs 44-38), however the team overall has increased in value with its development of their younger players.
As the 6-seed in the playoffs going up against a tough 3-seed in the Houston Rockets, it will be another difficult series for the Grizzlies to overcome. However, last season they proved the doubters wrong when they took down the 2-seeded Nuggets in the first round, marking the first time an upset from a 7-seed has happened in years. Ultimately, I believe the Grizzlies might pull off the upset again and if they don’t, they will have plenty of firepower in their roster to build upon for next season.
Stay tuned for the next Flip This Franchise, where we’ll advance to the playoffs and see if the Grizzlies can pull off the upset again, this time against the Beard in James Harden and the Houston Rockets. Think the Grizzlies have what it takes? Tweet me your opinions and you may just be featured in the next blog @christhorkilsen
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