Injuries happen in the NBA. Most of the time they can ruin a potential season a team has but for some reason the Memphis Grizzlies have found their way in to the 2016 postseason. Know for their “grit and grind” mentality, this is taking it to the next level.
The Grizzlies have used a total of 28 different players this season, which is an NBA record. No team has used more than 23 players and made the playoffs yet Memphis has already locked in a postseason bid, currently the 6th seed in the West. That is impressive and even Warriors head Steve Kerr has taken notice.
“I think it’s one of the most impressive stories in the NBA this year,” Kerr said
According to STATS.com, Memphis has had 12 different players have missed a total of 291 games due to injuries, second to the New Orleans Pelicans. Yet they somehow have made the playoffs.
“We’ve gotten hit over the head with everything you can get hit with,” Grizzlies coach Dave Joerger said
You have to give credit to Dave Joerger and his staff for sticking with their gameplay the whole year and finding the right guys to keep them in the playoffs. It started with promising second year guard Jordan Adams sitting out with knee surgery then Marc Gasol having season ending foot surgery and Mike Conley with an achilles injury. Mario Chalmers, who was acquired from Miami and was playing well for Memphis, reputed his achilles and was eventually waived in order to sign another player. Conley is still questionable to return for the playoffs.
It is not entirely bad in Memphis, they still have leaders Zach Randolph and Tony Allen ready to go while veterans like Matt Barnes and Vince Carter have stepped up during their rough patches. Even Lance Stephenson, who was acquired at the trade deadline from the Clippers, has also stepped up .
The team now currently has 17 guys are their roster, two over the allowed 15 but thanks to the NBA’s hardship rules they have been able to do trades and sign a couple of 10-day contracts to find the right guys. Jordan Farmar, Xavier Munford and Bryce Cotton were a few of the many players signed to 10-day deals and have now look to have important roles in the playoffs since they have now been signed for the remainder of the season.
There was talks of coach Dave Joerger possibly being fired for the teams lack of play but in my opinion, I would give him another season. Despite all those injuries mentioned above to key player, his team is currently 43-38 and are set to make the postseason for the 6th straight year, which is tough in the West.
“We got to start the playoffs,” Randolph said. “We ain’t got our team, and we made the playoffs. Everybody count us out and look where we are now.”
He is right, once players were out and 10-day contracts were being giving out to multiple players everyone (including myself) considered the Grizzlies out of the playoff picture. Well now they are a lock in for the playoffs and who knows how deep of run they can make, but knowing their style of play, any team going against Memphis will have a tough time trying to score the basket.