Sorry to say, another year of Grizzlies basketball has come to a close, but the 3 Shades of Blue team never slows it’s train! Join us for 3 Shades of summer, as we rally to put a proper bow on the 2013-14 season, cover all the bases of off-season analysis, and transition into the 2014-15 chapter of Grizzlies basketball. Over the course of this week, we’ll be putting our heads together for the first phase of “Unwinding the Grind,” which will consist of a collection of “Friday Morning Five”-inspired roundtables, looking back at the year that was.
This first edition of “Unwinding the Grind” will step back to take a look at the season at large for the Grizzlies, and take a trip down memory lane. Be sure to share your take on the year with us in the comments section below, and of course on Twitter!
1. Grade the Grizzlies’ performance this season.
Chip Crain: B-. This team was built to compete this season but injuries, illness, early season rotation troubles and roster moves ruined the first half. In the 2nd half the team came together but had to work so hard to get into the playoffs that they ran out of gas. It was a good year overall but just a shadow of what was expected and hoped for.
Zach Thomas: Based on pre season expectations and history with this core, B-.
Phillip Dean: B+.
John Hugar: B+.
Jonathan May: Solid B+. Last summer I said the team had to get out of the first round to meet expectations. Considering the circumstances, they got within a game of doing that and missed 2 chances to knock out OKC.
2. Where does this season rank in terms of overall enjoyment?
Chip: This season was my one of proudest seasons as a fan. The team never gave up, dealt with problems that normally derail lesser teams and did more overall than any other team. It didn’t surprise people like the 50 win team did but they fought harder in the playoffs. Last season’s team had a better record but didn’t have to overcome bear the adversity this year’s team was able to overcome.
Zach: Including the postseason, of the past 4 seasons, I would rank this one third, only because of expectations going in. Just on pure drama & excitement, playing every game as a must win the final 6 weeks of the season is quite the thrill and I would rank it the best season ever.
Phillip: Very exciting but not as exciting as the moment when they get to the Western Conference Finals. Such a great story of going through so much adversity with a new young head coach, losing Marc Gasol quarter of the season, losing one of your best role players in Quincy Pondexter for the season, Mike Conley getting the Sportsmanship Award, the Courtney Lee/Jerryd Bayless trade, and so much more. So many discussions about the Grizzlies this year.
John: Probably not as fun as last year, or 10-11, but I’d take it over 11-12, since the team was more cohesive, and their play after Marc came back was great.
Jonathan: Honestly, it was hard to enjoy because it was so taxing. Would be nice to roll out an easy 60-win season next year and only have suspense about whether we win the top seed.
3. The Grizzlies are still alive in the playoffs, today, if…
Chip: Durant and Westbrook hadn’t risen to the occasion the last two games. Given the team’s playoff position l, the superstar talent the league has invested a lot in promoting and the injuries in the playoffs, I believe the team did as well as could be expected this year. As a team they can’t put themselves behind the 8 ball that often and not expect trouble.
Zach: Mr. Unreliable was truly unreliable.
Phillip: They keep their composure in Game 4 and keep the lead in the 4th Quarter and have a better performance in Game 6 which Mike Conley and Marc Gasol said still bother them to this day.
John: They hang on in Game 4.
Jonathan: They hit free throws. Sadly, it’s that simple.
4. What was your favorite moment of 2013-14?
Chip: Tough decision. I think the Miami game was the high point although I could easily say the entire Thunder series (well games 1-5), the win at Phoenix to clinch the playoffs and the last game of the season when the Grizzlies beat Dallas in OT to avoid the Spurs in the first round. Honestly there were a lot of highlights this year. For one play I’d say the James Johnson steal and 3 point shot to tie the Spurs.
Zach: Becoming a member of this blog. I can’t believe I’ve been able to be apart of this and everyday I think I’m living on borrowed time! As for the season, I’ll play into the narrative and say James Johnson blocking three point shots, dunking off the backboard and calling off Mike Conley and then draining a three to lead a massive come from behind effort to force OT against the Spurs.
Phillip: Clinching a playoff birth after the win against the Suns. That game was stressful on so many levels. It was so much fun seeing Mike Miller being Mike Miller as he goes 5-6 from 3-point range. #LetItFly
John: When they beat the Suns to clinch a playoff spot. I think that’s the first time I’ve ever cried watching a Grizzlies game.
Jonathan: Celebrating the Game 5 victory at Central BBQ with #GrizzNation.
5. If you had to sum up the season in one word, it would be:
Chip: Frustrating. The slow start as Joerger fiddled with the line-up, the Gasol injury after the California sweep road trip, the injuries to everyone else, the team ups and downs while Gasol and others were injured, the inability to win division games and all the home losses made it difficult to ever get a good feeling until the season was over.
Don’t forget to check back in with us tomorrow as we take a look at the performance of the roster.