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The fight for the Playoffs Qualification: Memphis Grizzlies

The competition for the playoffs qualification in the Western Conference this season has been one of the most interesting and competitive ones in recent NBA seasons. One of the teams involved in the battle for a place in the playoffs this season is the Memphis Grizzlies. Memphis Grizzlies are eager to get back into the playoffs picture after missing out last season after finishing in the 12th position of the Western Conference table and 3rd in the Southwest Division with a 33-49 win-loss record and a .402 win percentage. Failure to qualify for the playoffs resulted in wholesale changes at the Grizzlies, including the sacking of Head Coach J.B. Bickerstaff. Bickerstaff’s departure led to the appointment coach Taylor Jenkins, who was then the assistant coach at Eastern Conference side Milwaukee Bucks. Longtime Point Guard Mike Conley was also traded to Utah Jazz after 12 years playing in the NBA for the Grizzlies. Coach Jenkins’ arrival at the Grizzlies has massively transformed the Grizzlies team and their style of play, making them one of the most exciting teams to watch in the NBA this season despite their early struggles in the opening weeks. This season, the Grizzlies have also shown signs of improvement from last season and are currently 8th on the Western Conference table and 3rd in the Southwest Division with a 32-33 win-loss record and a .492 win percentage. We take a look at how the Memphis Grizzlies have fared this season, some of their top performers, and their chances of making the playoffs if the season resumes.

 

Memphis Grizzlies’ season so far

Memphis Grizzlies had a difficult start to this season. The Grizzlies began the season with two consecutive losses on the road at Miami Heat and home against Chicago Bulls. However, the Grizzlies recovered from their season-opening slump by claiming their first victory of the season in a 134-133 overtime win against the Brooklyn Nets at home in their third game of the season. The winning run didn’t last long, though, as the Grizzlies lost 5 of their next six games afterward before with their sole win during that disappointing run coming against Minnesota Timberwolves. After the first nine games of the season, the Grizzlies had a miserable 2-7 win-loss record. Three straight wins from their next three games eased the pressure a little bit before the early season struggles continued after they recorded just one win and nine defeats from their next ten games bringing their win-loss record to 6-16. The turning point of the Grizzlies season came in the early part of December as Coach Jenkins and his team began winning games regularly. In the remaining 12 games of 2019, the Grizzlies recorded seven wins, including their last match of 2019 against Charlotte Hornets at home.  The first game of 2020 did not go as planned as Memphis Grizzlies lost 128-123 at Sacramento Kings in a thrilling match away from home. They recovered from the loss to claim seven successive wins. The impressive winning came to an end after they lost two games on the bounce against New Orleans and Boston Celtics. Since then, Memphis Grizzlies have won 12 and lost 9 of their last 21 games before the suspension of the season.

 

Top Performers for Memphis Grizzlies so far this season

This season, Coach Jenkins has succeeded in building his exciting Memphis Grizzlies side around a pool of talented players. These players have made impactful contributions to the team’s successes throughout the season. The likes of rookie Point Guard Ja Morant, Power Forward Jaren Jackson Jr., Shooting Guard Dillon Brooks, Center Jonas Valancuinas, and Small Forward Brandon Clarke have all been top performers for the team this season.

The standout performer in the Grizzlies team this season, Point Guard Ja Morant, has made the headlines on several occasions this season with his mesmerizing skills and talent in his rookie year. Morant has averaged 17.6 points per game, 3.5 rebounds per game, 6.9 assists per game, and 3.2 turnovers in 59 games this season. His impressive performances have also seen him one of the favorites alongside New Orleans Pelicans’ Zion Williamson to win this season’s Rookie of the Year award.

Power Forward Jaren Jackson Jr. also has an average of 16.9 points per game and 4.7 rebounds per game. He has also averaged 1.4 assists per game and 1.6 blocks per game in 54 games.

Shooting Guard Dillon Brooks has also averaged 15.7 points per game, 3.3 rebounds per game, and an additional 2.0 assists per game in 65 games.

Center Jonas Valancuinas also has an average of 14.9 points per game, 11.2 rebounds per game and 1.8 assists per game in 62 games with Small Forward Brandon Clarke also averaging 12.0 points per game, 5.8 rebounds per game and 1.4 assists per game in 50 games, starting just three of them.

 

Memphis Grizzlies’ Chances of Making the Playoffs

At the moment, the Grizzlies have an outside chance of qualifying for the postseason’s playoffs if the season resumes. However, they will have to step up their game and be wary of the threats from most of the rivals in the fight for a playoff spot. Inconsistencies have marred the Grizzlies’ season so far. The team will have to be more consistent to boost their chances of returning to the playoffs when the season resumes.

 

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