The Memphis Grizzlies have been through an onslaught of losses in a race for futility, losing 23 of the last 24 games since Jan. 31. Despite sporting the second-worst record in the league with no signs of slowing down, head coach J.B. Bickerstaff has vowed this team won’t let go of the rope, even if there are only nine games left in the season.
“We have a responsibility to one another, and we won’t do that,” said Bickerstaff, according to Ronald Tillery of The Commercial Appeal. “We’ll compete, we’ll show up, we’ll continue to try to get better. The only way that you get better is by playing, and playing at an NBA level. Whether it’s this year or guys’ future, this is an opportunity for them, and we’ll take advantage of this opportunity.”
The Grizzlies have dealt with a wave of injuries all season long, most notably point guard Mike Conley’s, including absences by the team’s two best players — Marc Gasol and Tyreke Evans.
Though the tanking job has been made pretty obvious through this second half of the season, sitting only within a half game of the lowly Phoenix Suns for the worst record in the league.
Besides playing inexperienced players, the Grizzlies have found every reasonable excuse to sit out their rotation players — whether it was keeping Gasol in a rest management protocol (no back-to-backs) or playing the likes of Jarell Martin out of position, making it that much harder to get a positive result at the end of regulation.