Photo by Frederick Breedon // Getty Images
As the 2017-18 NBA season quickly approaches, everyone will be running-and-gunning with hopes of surpassing the defending champion Golden State Warriors.
Many teams made significant moves to get to that level, but one team that hasn’t is the Memphis Grizzlies. After losing veterans Zach Randolph and Vince Carter, the Grizzlies now find themselves in a position where they will be fighting for the last playoff seed come April.
For over the past two seasons, the Grizzlies have slowly been on the decline. The league is becoming so perimeter-oriented and the amount of 3-point shots have skyrocketed.
This is where the Grizzlies ran into some major issues. The Grizzlies shot 28 percent (ranked 14th last season) from 3-point range last season and averaged 100.5 points per game. In today’s NBA, that will not win championships. Especially since teams can now score upwards of 110 EASILY.
You would think that with this stat, the Grizzlies would attempt to sign free agents who can spread the floor more during the offseason? Think again.
Over the summer, the Grizzlies signed free agent Tyreke Evans. Evans, a former University of Memphis Tiger, will be returning back to the 901 for a bigger role after dealing with injuries the last few seasons.
However, he will not add as much value as people may think. Evans has gone from a 20 point-per-game scorer, to now 11. Entering his 9th season in the league, the Grizzlies will need to get more scoring from him.
The Western Conference got stronger. Yes. Stronger.
The Warriors and the San Antonio Spurs are always teams that will be among the Western Conference elite. Oklahoma City Thunder just re-signed superstar point guard Russell Westbrook to a 5-year, $205 million contract and traded Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis for Paul George. The summer for the Thunder was not over though because they traded Enes Kanter to the New York Knicks for Carmelo Anthony. With a roster like this, the Thunder have put themselves in a great position for the second seed.
The Houston Rockets also had a very eventful and busy summer. Trading Patrick Beverley, Lou Williams, Sam Dekker, Montrezl Harrell, Darrun Hilliard, DeAndre Liggins, Kyle Wiltjer and a protected first-round pick in next year’s draft for superstar point guard Chris Paul from the Los Angeles Clippers.
We are ready for Paul and MVP runner-up James Harden on the same team. Let alone the best 3-point shooting team in the NBA from last season. The Rockets are now miles ahead of Memphis.
The Minnesota Timberwolves can also be ecstatic with how their summer went. After trading Zach LaVine, Kris Dunn and the rights to the seventh overall pick in the draft to the Chicago Bulls for superstar Jimmy Butler, the Timberwolves placed themselves in a great position to make the playoffs for the first time since 2004.
Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins. Head coach Tom Thibodeau (who coached Butler in Chicago) and a roster full of veterans. The Timberwolves are in for a great season.
This is just a tad bit of the teams in the Western Conference better than the Grizzlies, unfortunately. The Denver Nuggets, Portland Trail Blazers, Utah Jazz, Los Angeles Clippers, and even the Lakers now will all be fighting for the 8th and final spot come April.