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Coming to Terms with the Grizzlies Rough Season Start

Misery, misery, misery, that’s what I’ve chosen. And I’ve chosen to be a Grizzlies fan.

Just two short weeks ago I had some pretty high hopes for the Grizzlies 2023-24 season. Grizzlies’ General Manager Zach Kleiman and the front office made some big moves in the offseason that built up my expectations. Derrick Rose, while potentially nearing the end of his career, still means a lot to Memphis fans 15 years after leading the Tigers to the March Madness final in 2008. The heart of the Boston Celtics Marcus Smart joined the Grizzlies as well, adding another defense player of the year to the team alongside JJJ. And the Grizzlies finally rid themselves of the offensive liability known as Dillon Brooks – while I respect his ability to be a top-tier instigator, I admit I’m happy to see him replaced.

And yet all these changes were for naught with the announcement that just days before this season was to begin, Stephen Adams would have to undergo surgery that would take a year to recover from. And as Adams’ season ended in the blink of an eye, so did the entire team.

The Grizzlies are bad. They’re 1-6, last in the league bad. In fact they’re so bad that as of November 4, Google had already listed the Grizzlies as 0-7, apparently assuming they would fall to the Trail Blazers Sunday – fortunately they broke their losing streak off a great 30 point game from Desmon Bane. Though the Grizzlies crashed out of the playoffs in the first round last season against the Lakers, no one was predicting the awful start they’ve had.

The biggest blow by far is the loss of Adams for the entire season. I won’t pretend to understand the correct procedure for monitoring and correcting a PCL sprain. But it’s frustrating that Grizzlies PR does such a poor job of keeping fans updated. If the bomb about Adams’ absence hadn’t dropped out of nowhere just days before the season began, it would have been an easier pill to swallow.

So what can we expect from this season? Once Morant, Clarke, Konchar, Rose and Tillman return in full health, it will be interesting to see how the team continues to push through adversity. Since the core lineup solidified around 2019, the team’s record has improved nearly every year (though it dipped slightly in 2023), so keeping a winning mentality through a season that will likely finish under .500 is crucial, and will, with any luck, lead to the Grizzlies having a fully healthy roster and a chip on their shoulder going into the 24-25 season.

Marcus Smart’s impact on the team’s defensive play and 3-point shooting is of course something to watch for, as well as Kenneth Lofton Jr. and David Roddy’s performance, which I can see drastically improving this season due to greater play on a shortened roster, a la Santi Aldama last season. And of course, Ja Morant’s behavior off the court is something that all sports media has its eyes on. Hopefully, he won’t give the sharks anything to bite.

Maybe I’m a glutton for punishment, or maybe I refuse to consider myself a fair-weather fan, but even through this eye wateringly bad season start, I intend to watch the Grizz play ball, no matter how rough it gets. And who knows? Maybe once Ja returns, Memphis could have a decent turnaround and reach the play-in tournament. For now however, if you’re a fan like me, try to avoid social media conversations around the Grizzlies, especially on Twitter. It’s ugly, and it’s going to stay ugly for a while.

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