(This is another in a series of 30 guest columns that will run in October, when optimism reigns supreme across the NBA. The theme will be “Five Reasons to Feel Positive About … ” We encourage you to follow the authors on Twitter and visit their sites. – CS)
Two seasons back, the Grizzlies were a Game 7 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder away from making it to the Western Conference finals. To that, they entered the 2011-12 season with greater expectations and visions of finally – for the first time in franchise history – making it past the second round of the playoffs.
Unfortunately, they ran into a Los Angeles Clippers team that actually posed to be a tougher matchup for the Grizzlies than the top-seeded Spurs they ousted in the 2011 playoffs.
As the Grizzlies tried to rebound from an epic Game 1 collapse at the hand of the Clippers, they eventually fell in seven games and suddenly caused many to wonder whether the team as constructed was good enough to make the jump to the next level.
Gone is O.J. Mayo, who signed with Dallas in the offseason. Back in the mix is, well, essentially the same team that lost in the first round to the Clippers. So the question remains: Is this core good enough to get the Grizzlies past the second round of the playoffs? Or are they nothing more than a regular season threat?
Sure, the core is essentially the same, but here are five reasons to feel positive about this Grizzlies team.