The Memphis Grizzlies are in the midst of a playoff push to bring post-season basketball season back to FedExForum as the city celebrates the team’s tenth season in the city.
One could argue the biggest reason the Grizzlies are in the playoff race with a winning record, is the mid-season changes to the roster by adding payers to a squad that is now 10 deep.
How Far They’ve Come
The Grizzlies have come a long way since Opening Night when Memphis welcomed the Atlanta Hawks to FedExForum.
The Blue Bears roster that night looked as follows:
Without a doubt, during the pre-season when the Grizzlies went 8-0 setting the best record heading into the regular season, Memphis fans had every right to have a confidence about them…. that would soon dissolve.
The Grizzlies struggled to find any type of consistency between Halloween and Christmas.
But then, something clicked.
A New Season
Since Christmas, the Grizzlies have been one of the top teams not only in the Western Conference, but the NBA as a whole.
Climbing past teams like Houston, Utah, and Phoenix… the Grizzlies are now just a handful a games behind the likes of Oklahoma City, Denver, Portland, and NOLA.
But in the midst of a busy NBA trade window, the Grizzlies front office began to question themselves and wonder, can the squad we have now, carry us into the post-season?
Trading Youth for Experience
The big man was averaging just over one point per game along with 3 rebounds and one block per contest (the real stat says 0.9 Blocks Per Game).
But for a man 3 inches taller than 7 feet, that just wasn’t cutting it… and to be quite honest, the Grizzlies haven’t missed him one bit.
One question was still left lingering after Thabeet’s departure.
Who was going to come off the bench and play the post?
Enter Darrell Arthur and Hamed Haddadi.
In his second year out of Kansas, Arthur has seen his numbers rise as his playing time has increased since the start of the season.
In two games vs San Antonio following the trade week, Arthur averaged 16.5 points, 2.5 blocks, and 5.5 rebounds in back to back contests with the NBA leading Spurs.
And what about the fan favorite Haddadi?
The big man from Iran got off to a great start finishing with a double double vs the Sacramento Kings, and against the Spurs March 1st, he had 6 points and 4 rebounds in five minutes of play.
In addition to his contributions, he has added a big smile with ever possession that has helped make this team that much more fun to watch.
What You See Is What You Get
So, what do the next two months have in store for the Grizzlies?
Can they continue to push forward in the play-off chase?
Or will the tough schedule of games remaining catch up to them and prove to be too much sending them out of the post-season picture?
The only people who have the answer to that are the guys listed below:
The Grizzlies roster looks slightly different with the addition of 4 new players, but with old school additions like Battier and Williams partnering with the new school players Conley and Gay, the Grizzlies season 10 years in the making might just extend a little bit longer into this summer.
UPDATE: The Grizzlies have added forward Leon Powe to the team’s roster as they make a push for the playoffs.
Brennan Somers is a regular contributor to Memphisport. You can follow him on Twitter @brennansomers. For more live tweets during Grizzlies games follow @memphisport, @douggillon, @cerrito, and @chasingphoto.
Story photos by Justin Ford.