74 Reasons to Get Excited for the 74th NBA Season: Reason 62

Can the Memphis Grizzlies improve on last year’s surprising season?

Credit: Greenspot-newsnba.blogspot.com

Not many expected the Memphis Grizzlies to earn a playoff spot coming into last season after posting a 40-42 record in 2009-10. But not only did the Grizz make the postseason last year, this young and talented squad defeated the San Antonio Spurs in six games before falling to the Oklahoma City Thunder in a decisive Game 7 in the Western Conference Semifinals. Memphis finished last season with a 46-36 record, and with a roster loaded of young talent, this team could be poised to make another legitimate run next season.  Marc Gasol (restricted) and Shane Battier (unrestricted) are the only free agents for this team heading into the summer. And in 2012, Darrell Arthur, O.J. Mayo, Ishmael Smith and Sam Young are the only restricted free agents for the Grizz. Mike Conley has steadily improved from year-to-year, and has developed into a nice point guard to run the floor. Meanwhile, Rudy Gay and Mayo still possess the ability to score the ball for this team, and Gasol has mastered into a nice frontcourt compliment to veteran Zach Randolph, who continues to impress at a high level as a double-double machine. To go along with a great mix of experience in Randolph, Battier and Tony Allen, the rest of the current roster is composed of 12 players who have five years of NBA experience or less. This enticing combination could keep Memphis in the hunt in the Western Conference for many years to come.

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