Rockets News

Houston Rockets: A Final Look at the Southwest Division Opponents

By Connor Paden
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 Memphis Grizzlies – Pre-Season Record: 4-4

Credit: Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

The Memphis Grizzlies could be looking at a very similar season to what they had last year.  They really didn’t make too many off-season changes to their roster. Former assistant coach David Joerger is finally getting a chance at the big job as the Grizzlies finally parted ways with Lionel Hollins. Memphis will struggle getting back to the Western Conference finals from the 6th seed, which is where I see them finishing this year.

They added Mike Miller after he was let go by the Miami Heat. Miller will be an effective player off the bench. He can be a facilitator when he wants, he can rebound when he wants, and of course, can completely demolish teams from the 3-point line when he gets hot. The Grizzlies are one of the true, defense first teams left in the NBA. Every one of their starters is an above average defender. Marc Gasol won defensive player of the year last year, and while I don’t quite agree that he really was the best, he is surrounded by Tayshaun Prince and Tony Allen, who are defensive-minded players. Zach Randolph, meanwhile has got to find his mid-season form again. Randolph was dominated by the taller Spurs big men in the Western Conference Finals.

Mike Conley is the most interesting player on this team. The  26-year old out of Ohio State really excelled in the playoffs last year and put himself in the conversation for one of the better point guards in the Western Conference. After averaging 14.6 points last year and 6.1 assists, I would look to see Conley improve on those numbers and further establish himself among the Western Conference elite.  Unfortunately for the Grizzlies, this team doesn’t quite have the offense to make another run this season. I look to see another middle of the table finish for Memphis and perhaps an earlier exit from the playoffs this time around.