The Memphis Grizzlies have a very bright future, and their future is now.
A year after making the NBA playoffs for the first time since 2017, they finished 56-26, got past the first round for the first time since 2015 and put up a decent fight against the eventual world champion Golden State Warriors.
They possess a rapidly rising superstar in Ja Morant, a man who averaged 27.4 points and 6.7 assists per game this year, won the Most Improved Player award and even got some MVP consideration.
🏀 Game 3: Sat. 8:30pm/et on ABC pic.twitter.com/KZWVFZSe0Q
— NBA (@NBA) May 4, 2022
After such a successful season, some may feel that the Grizzlies don’t need to make any real moves this summer and that internal improvement alone will make them a legitimate championship contender in 2023.
But they shouldn’t count on that.
Morant Needs A Second Star/Superstar
In today’s NBA, a team needs at least two stars or superstars to have any real chance of winning it all.
Right now, Morant has some good players around him, but none of them are stars.
Desmond Bane set the @memgrizz playoff record with 8 threes tonight.
He was throwing darts until the final whistle. pic.twitter.com/y3HksA0LEY
— NBA (@NBA) April 24, 2022
But if the Grizzlies are serious about being a true championship contender for years to come, they should be aggressive in going after someone who is a star or superstar right now, ideally a frontcourt player.
The Brooklyn Nets’ Kevin Durant has been rumored to perhaps be thinking of asking for a trade, and if he does, Memphis needs to aggressively go after him – without gutting its team, of course.
Next summer could present a better market in terms of superstars available via trade or free agency, so if the Grizzlies aren’t able to strike right now, they should prepare to go hard at one in 2023.
The Rest Of The West Will Be Better
The Warriors aren’t going anywhere, and in fact, they could be even better next year, especially if Thompson plays better and they get something significant from James Wiseman, Jonathan Kuminga, or Moses Moody.
The Los Angeles Clippers will get Kawhi Leonard back after he missed all of this season with a knee injury, and they are always a threat to reach the NBA Finals.
After unexpectedly reaching the Western Conference Finals, the Dallas Mavericks just nabbed Christian Wood, giving themselves some much-needed offensive help.
Even if the Phoenix Suns lose Deandre Ayton, they will still be a good team, and the Los Angeles Lakers are always a threat to make a big move and return to title contention.
If Memphis returns the same core it had this year, it could potentially finish as low as fifth in the West, which would be perceived as a big disappointment after what it did the last several months.