Don’t Forget About The Grizzlies

In a conference that boasts superstar power like the Los Angeles Lakers, Oklahoma City Thunder, San Antonio Spurs and Los Angeles Clippers bring to the table, it’s easy to overlook a team like the Memphis Grizzlies. It’s easy to forget that the Grizzlies finished last season’s locket-shortened campaign ahead of the Clippers and one spot below the Lakers in the standings (they sported identical 41-25 records), good enough for the fourth spot and the home-court advantage that came along with that perch.

Yet when the contenders are talked about now, the Grizzlies are conveniently left out of that conversation. Folks need to be careful glancing past the Grizzlies, especially with Zach Randolph apparently back to form after dealing with a serious knee injury all last season.

Randolph rededicated himself to the training regimen that led him to an All-Star berth and helped the Grizzlies to a first-round upset of the Spurs two years ago. It took a painful Game 7 loss to the Clippers last year to rekindle that fire in Randolph, who joins All-Star center Marc Gasol to form a potent big-man combo that rivals the Lakers’ Dwight HowardPau Gasol tag team.

As Ronald Tillery of the Commercial Appeal points out, Randolph is covering all of the bases as he prepares to return to form:

For his part, Randolph hasn’t left anything to chance.

He shut down when the Grizzlies’ season ended in a disappointing Game 7 first-round playoff loss to the Los Angeles Clippers. Randolph decided to rest and allowed the knee to heal to the point where he was pain-free.

That meant Randolph began his offseason work in August, about a month later than usual.

“It was the worst year of my career,” Randolph said. “Being hurt and not being able to move how you want to move and have that second jump … It was real frustrating. I wanted to make sure my knee healed before I did a lot of movement.”

Randolph returned to an approach to health and fitness called “chameleon training” with University of Memphis strength coach Frank Matrisciano. Suddenly, Randolph was back to climbing pipes that extend from the floor to the ceiling for upper-body training, carrying heavy balls up and down stairs and running in a sand pit with a 30-pound ball.

“Frank works every muscle in your body,” Randolph said. “It’s just tearing down fat and building up muscle. … I tell these young players, I’m 31. I’ve got two max contracts and I’m still working out hard with Frank, running stairs. That’s how dedicated I am. I want to be the best. I’m not just satisfied.”

Randolph also improved his psyche, and his teammates notice.

“We’ve got a more confident Z-Bo, a healthier Z-Bo and that’s scary for a lot of teams,” guard Tony Allen said. “I’m just glad he’s on my team.”

Griz coach Lionel Hollins lauds Randolph’s commitment to excellence.

“It’s difficult to compare where he is now to then. It’s like night and day,” Hollins said. “The key is not losing conditioning and not gaining weight.”

An experienced roster with an All-Star center, a quality young point guard (Mike Conley), a defensive stopper and fiery leader (Allen), a swingman with elite talent (Rudy Gay) and one of the best coaches in the league is enough to make the Grizzlies a playoff lock.

A rejuvenated Randolph gives them a chance to be so much more.


  1. Lakers4Life says:

    Z-Bo and Marc make a beast front court duo rank 2nd on my list:
    1)Lakers-DH12 and Pau
    2)Grizz-Z-Bo and Marc
    3)Jazz-Jeff and Millsap (in third because of beast backups otherwise they would be 5th)
    4)Hawks-Horford and Smith
    5)Knicks-combine Chandler’s D and STAT’s O and you have the ultimate big man.

    • Cuzz'N says:

      You mean STAT’S offensive TALENT because as for him scoring…..ennnnhhhhh, havent seen too too much of it since PHX…..But I agree w/ u……does anybody feel like K.Love & Petrovic dont get any props…Love is the most complete 4 in the game {ON THE OFFENSIVE END} and Petrovic would pipe an air balloon out of the sky….what about Bogut and David Lee….thats nasty if both are healthy and actually more productive than 2 of your five options ( #2 & #5){#5 = Chandler puts up the numbers, Amare still just gets by on his name}

      • Realist2012 says:

        Amare feeds off a play maker i.e. Nash cutting and setting him up. The Knicks needed one, they opted for Kidd hoping his veteran and Hall of Famer skills could revive that in amare along with his training with olajuwon. All you can do is wait and see how they mesh this season.

  2. JacamoStevens says:

    Man that one was just the best. Love van and heat. A match made in heaven. Starting five, Memphis. Yes so funny. Too bad all those Jacamos aren’t here now to strut.

  3. daux says:

    gilbert arenas will be big this year…

  4. jailblazer-ucankeephim says:


  5. #1 Spot says:

    Memphis has a Very Strong lineup and should atleast make it to the West Conf Finals!.. Maybe even Win it All!

  6. Countess says:

    Well, with all the talent in the West, it will be a fun season watching them go at each other. Like Zach said in the video, it is anybody’s conference. I look forward to seeing the Grizzlies play.

  7. Bojeezy says:

    Losing Z-Bo early in the year was a big loss. I thought they could turn it around by the playoffs but they weren’t the same team that they were when they beat the Spurs. I think having Z-Bo for a full year and fit is a good sign though.

  8. SUN says:

    can you guys just not ruin the comments with the lakers for once?
    zach is a beast and can outplay almost every PF in the west (calm down i said almost every)
    it is true losing OJ was a big thing for them but theyll find a wat to cope with it with rudy gay leading the way for this team
    i still choose em over the clippers

  9. Realist2012 says:

    You don’t need a team of superstars to win. I think the tantrums of todays stars has made people blind to Teamplay > Super Teams. If you look at last years playoffs alone you’d see that the teams that went the furthest were the teams that worked best together. Spurs, Thunder, Celtics, Indiana. I don’t count Miami they basically muscled their way to a championship with all those guns it just plain makes up for slackers on the team and will be more so now with Lewis and Allen on the wings spreading the floor. Pick your poison. I personally think every team needs a clutch player though, someone to take over the 4th quarters and make plays for their teammates. Lebron did that in the 4th quarter of the finals and made battier and mike look like all stars. Memphis is a solid team with no drastic roster changes, I wouldn’t underestimate them. They know each other and their teammates game so they are like playground ballers…they know what their teammate is going to do and where they need to be. If you actually play the game you know what I mean.

  10. Zach has been a beast most of his career, averaging 20-10, but I would like to see the front office step in and either add a bonafied superstar, or surround that great frontcourt with some 3pt shooting. Additionally, I like Mike Conley, but I dont like him as their starter. Conley would probably be better on a more superstar-heavy team, but I think a more dynamic PG would do wonders for this club. They also lost their scoring punch off the bench with Mayo leaving for Dallas & Arthur getting injured again. It will be interesting to see if Bayless can provide a consistent scoring punch off the bench and also be able to defend his position. They will still be a playoff team this year, but I don’t see them getting any further than the 2nd round.

  11. lbj lol says:

    memphis should sign with miami or trade for joel anthony and udonis haslem plus picks.


    wade, memphis, james, heat, bosh

    strong reserves

    juwan howard

  12. Jones17 says:

    Who’s this quality young PG then? I thought they had Mike Conley? And to say Rudy Gay has elite talent is a little stretch. Z-Bo and Gasol is a very good combo though.

    • Mytownla says:

      How exactly is that a strech? Rudy is more than a quality player so maybe you shold learn to gie credit where credit i due. Ad i will admit, Z-Bo and Gasol make up for a good frontcurt, but still they have nothing on LA’s starting 4 and 5, so it looks as if Memphis is going to have to go through another year of being outpayed by at least 3 other teams in the WC

    • Bonafide says:

      They are probably talking about Jerryd Bayless. But Conley was the man in Memphis with all those steals last season.

      • DS_2012 says:

        Memphis has a good team but it´s not a championship contender. They don´t have a star, and they missed the chance to get one in the 2006 Draft by picking Thabeet instead of James Harden, Ricky Rubio, Tyreke Evans, Brandon Jennings….