NBA Western Power Rankings Week 5: Thunder thrive, Grizzlies rise

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Nov 29, 2015; Memphis, TN, USA; Memphis Grizzlies forward Zach Randolph (50) celebrates with center Marc Gasol (33) after a play against the Philadelphia 76ers at FedExForum. Memphis defeated Phiadelphia 92-84. Mandatory Credit: Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

5th: Memphis Grizzlies (33 points)

By Tom West

Record: 11-8

Record last week: 3-1

After a shaky start to their season and a 50 point loss early on to the Warriors, the Grizzlies have gradually been pulling themselves together and took their record above .500 last week. Except for a 116-101 loss to the Atlanta Hawks on Friday, the Grizzlies put together three strong performances and held all their opponents (the Philadelphia 76ers don’t count, of course) to 96 points or less. With one win against the Mavericks and another against the Rockets (even if Houston is a mess right now), it was a much better spell of play from Memphis. It was even more respectable as they were without Zach Randolph for five games until their recent contest against the 76ers.

Their trio of Mike Conley, Marc Gasol and Randolph are all off to another good start so far. Gasol’s scoring has dipped, but he’s tied a career-high four assists per game. Randolph’s numbers have also fallen slightly, although he’s 34 and is still playing a vital role as an option in the post and constant hustler on the boards. As for Conley, he looks like the same talented point guard who plays at both ends of the floor and quietly makes his Grizzlies one of the top teams in the West.

Even though they aren’t as formidable right now as they have been in recent years, they’ve still been getting results. They’re 4th in the West at the moment for a reason, yet it’s hard to see that they can compete with the three elite teams sitting above them when the playoffs role around.

Next: Dallas Mavericks