There are certain proud organizations in the NBA that will not tank under any circumstances, partially because of a organizational mentality and partially out of necessity to sell tickets and keep fan loyalty in a smaller NBA market.
This list includes teams like the Indiana Pacers, Utah Jazz and the Memphis Grizzlies.
The Grizzlies have entered the tank-fest that usually occurs at the bottom of the NBA standings and inversely the top of the NBA Draft lottery without trying to as injuries have ravaged an already thin and aging roster.
They are now sitting at 10-23 after a 5-2 start to the season with their two-highest players unable to take the court often in Mike Conley and Chandler Parsons, which is good for the 3rd worst record in the league.
Don’t let their record and current placement in the standings fool you though, the Grizzlies will not tank.
Here is what interim coach J.B. Bickerstaff and Marc Gasol told the Memphis Commercial Appeal:
“In our mind, there is no tanking,” said coach J.B. Bickerstaff. “We’re competitive. We just need to find a way to get over that hump. We’ve continued to take steps.” Star center Marc Gasol echoed similar sentiments. “My job is not allowing that to happen,” Gasol said. “My job is not allowing anyone to throw away the season. Because at 32, 33 next month, I don’t have a season to throw away.” Gasol’s minutes should stay steady for the near future, but it may be a different story in March and April.
There is nothing wrong with playing with pride and trying to win games in an honest way, and the Grizzlies may essentially tank anyway without doing those classic things to help assist in that end like sitting your stars and playing your younger and less experienced players in crunch time “to help them develop”, but they absolutely should take advantage of this opportunity by letting Conley and Parsons heal and limit Gasol’s minutes as the season progresses.
This will help them land a top three pick and a potential superstar to rejuvenate their franchise.