NBA Western Power Rankings Week 6: Clippers start rising

13 of 16

Dec 8, 2015; Memphis, TN, USA; Memphis Grizzlies guards Courntey Lee, Mike Conley, Tony Allen and center Marc Gasol sit on the bench in the fourth quarter against the Oklahoma City Thunder at FedExForum. Oklahoma City defeated Memphis 125-88. Mandatory Credit: Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

4th: Memphis Grizzlies (25 points)

By Trisity Miller

Record: 13-11

December record: 3-3

A continuing trend, it’s two steps forward and 10 steps back for this Memphis team, proving more and more the Grizzlies we’ve grown familiar with are probably dead — RIP Grit ‘n Grind.

The highs of December thus far couldn’t get any higher considering it’s only the regular season. In spectacular fashion, Memphis took home a victory over the Suns, a la Jeff Green’s buzzer-beating dunk, and Pistons, a la Matt Barnes’ way-too-early half court heave to win it (and beat a very bad Pelicans team).

But then comes the dreadful: a blowout loss to the Spurs, a blowout loss to the Thunder, a blowout loss to the Hornets.

It’s the latter that best represents the Grizzlies’ season, and a clear indicator that the storm hasn’t passed for this team. And given the issues, the Griz failing to get above-average production from any wing and guard, including the soon-to-be max free agent Mike Conley. Numerous factors an be connected to such but for as long as Memphis’ usually-elite defense continues to slide, it makes for a bad combination, a mediocre team against bad clubs, and an awful club against good/great teams.

Of all the teams in the league, Memphis seems closest on the brink of “blowing it up”, whatever that means in regards to this team. Moving on from Tony Allen and Zach Randolph, the grit-and-grind pioneers? Trading Jeff Green less than a year removed from trading a first-round pick for him? Moving one of Conley and Marc Gasol — this is the most likely but desperation usually means no one is safe. Keep this in mind when the trade season rolls around (December 15).

To end this, I’ll leave you with the perfect summation of the Grizzlies’ recent stretch, and season, all in one tweet:

Next: Oklahoma City Thunder