The Memphis Grizzlies took game three over the Oklahoma City Thunder to take a 2-1 lead in their first round series of the 2014 NBA Playoffs. Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook have been struggling to get their shots to fall in the past two games and the Grizzlies have been able to capitalize on that to take the lead in the series.
Memphis has control in the series with more games to played on their home floor and they have been one of the biggest surprises thus far in the postseason. If the Thunder don’t get their act together, the Grizzlies have a legitimate chance to pull off a monstrous upset. However, what does that really mean for this team?
This Memphis team made it past the Thunder—minus Westbrook—last year in the playoffs on their way to getting handled relatively easily in the Western Conference Finals. This season, they had to deal with a number of injuries to key guys like Marc Gasol and had to fight to get into the postseason. That all leads us to here.
While it seems quite possible at the moment that Memphis could pull off a big upset in the first round, there also doesn’t seem to be many people thinking that they can be a serious contender for a title. If that’s really the case, then wouldn’t the Grizzlies have been better off just missing out on the postseason and getting a lottery pick?
We all know and appreciate the culture and identity that this team has established in recent years. They are a throwback to defensive teams that rely on traditional big men. However, their core defenders and big men aren’t getting any younger and there aren’t many young prospects on this roster with a lot of hype. Moreover, this team also needs an influx of young offensive talent. All of those things could have been answered in the lottery of this draft.
Memphis could very well advance out of the first round and grind their way to relative success in the playoffs. They could also very well find a solid player in the middle of the first round of the draft. However, you have to wonder if things wouldn’t have been better for the long-term if they had missed the postseason entirely.