The Grizzlies franchise has zero championships in organizational history since becoming a professional team back in 1995. The Vancouver Grizzlies were the name of the team from 1995 to 2001. The club moved to Memphis for the 2001-02 campaign and has an overall record of 824-1,161.
For this piece, we’ll be taking a look back at the five best Grizzlies teams in franchise history. Spoiler alert, they are all from the Memphis era.
The Grizzlies won 49 games under head coach Mike Fratello. Memphis was awful on offense and elite on defense. The team ranked 27th in scoring and first in opponents points per game.
Pau Gasol led the way on offense. He averaged 20.4 points and 8.9 rebounds per game while shooting 50.3 percent from the field. The second-leading scorer on the team was sharpshooter Mike Miller. He put up 13.7 points and shot 40.7 percent from 3.
The Grizzlies got to the playoffs but were swept by the Dallas Mavericks in the first round.
Hall of Famer Hubie Brown led the team to 50 wins. The Grizzlies actually had a top-10 offense. They put up 96.7 points per game in the regular season.
Gasol averaged 17.7 points and 7.7 rebounds in 78 games. Memphis’ 50 wins earned them a first-round matchup against Tim Duncan and the San Antonio Spurs.
As expected, the Spurs swept Gasol and the Grizzlies.
Head coach Dave Joerger captured 50 wins through mostly defense. Memphis averaged just 96.1 points per game. However, the Grizzlies were stout on defense, limiting their opponents to 94.6 points a night.
Zach Randolph was the star of this Memphis squad. The lefty averaged 17.4 points and 10.1 boards in the regular season, while point guard Mike Conley put up 17.2 points and 6.0 assists.
Memphis took on the Oklahoma City Thunder in the first round of the 2014 playoffs. OKC wound up winning in seven hard-fought games.
The Grizzlies won 55 games in the regular season and had the second-best scoring defense. Memphis’ opponents only averaged 95.1 points.
Marc Gasol finished the season with averages of 17.4 points, 7.8 rebounds and 3.8 assists. His brother Pau was on the Los Angeles Lakers now. In fact, they were traded for each other in 2008.
Memphis defeated the Portland Trail Blazers in the first round of the 2015 postseason. The Grizzlies then took a 2-1 series lead over the Golden State Warriors in the second round, only to see the Dubs win three straight to end Memphis’ season.
Coached by Lionel Hollins, the Grizzlies finished the season with an impressive record of 56-26. They were set to be the No. 5 seed in the 2013 playoffs.
This particular Memphis team practically defined the “Grit and Grind” era. The Grizzlies averaged only 93.4 points per game. That was 27th in the NBA.
However, Memphis was the stingiest defense in the league. Led by Tony Allen and Marc Gasol, the Grizzlies gave up only 89.3 points a night.
The Grizzlies bounced the Los Angeles Clippers in the first round of the 2013 playoffs in six games. Memphis then took care of the Thunder in the second round. It was easier than usual for the Grizzlies since OKC was playing without superstar point guard Russell Westbrook, who was out due to a knee injury.
The 2013 Western Conference Finals pinned Memphis up against the Spurs. Just like the 2004 playoffs, San Antonio swept Memphis. The Grizzlies’ magical and best season in franchise history was over, but it will surely never be forgotten by fans.
All the players from the “Grit and Grind” era always get love when they return to Memphis.