Mike Conley bracing for ‘awkward’ year with Grizzlies
Mike Conley has spent his entire 11-year career with the Memphis Grizzlies, and he has yet to experience a deep playoff run during that span. The general consensus is that next season will be more of the same, and Conley doesn’t sound thrilled about it.
The Grizzlies won just 22 games last season, and that put them in position to select potential franchise cornerstone Jaren Jackson Jr. with the No. 4 overall pick in the NBA Draft. They also made some nice depth signings and will bring back star big man Marc Gasol, but some remarks Conley made at USA Basketball minicamp last week indicate he does not feel it is enough.
“It’s different for me because for the last eight years, I came into every season thinking we have a chance to win at a high level,” Conley said, per Mark Giannotto of the Memphis Commercial Appeal. “This season, expectations are still try to be that playoff team, that team that comes out and really makes it tough on everybody. But it is an awkward year with so many teams getting so much better [with] different acquisitions they made in the offseason.”
There are a lot of ways to describe an offseason, and “awkward” certainly isn’t the most flattering. Conley previously said that he is excited about the additions Memphis has made, but he knows how much talent there is in the Western Conference with LeBron James signing with the Los Angeles Lakers and DeMarcus Cousins somehow making the Golden State Warriors even more dangerous.
The Grizzlies got off to a brutal start last year with the issues they had between their former head coach and best player, so at least they won’t have to deal with that next season. However, Conley is wise enough to know they have no shot of making a deep playoff run. Accepting that as fact entering your 12th NBA season can’t be easy.