The Memphis Grizzlies are an American professional basketball team based in Memphis, Tennessee. The Grizzlies are a member of the Southwest Division of the Western Conference in the National Basketball Association (NBA). Their head coach is Taylor Jenkins.
Along with the Toronto Raptors, the Grizzlies were established in 1995 as part of the NBA's expansion into Canada. The team originated that year in Vancouver, British Columbia as the Vancouver Grizzlies and relocated to Memphis in 2001. The team's majority owner is Robert Pera.
While two other teams (Tennessee Titans and Nashville Predators) in the four major North American sports leagues (NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL) play in Tennessee, the Grizzlies are the only team to currently play in Memphis.
- General Motors (GM) Place (1995–2001)
The Grizzlies began in 1995 as the Vancouver Grizzlies. They were one of two franchises that joined the NBA in the 1995-96 season alongside the Toronto Raptors as part of the NBA's expansion into Canada.
The Vancouver years (1995–2001)
1995–2001: Six seasons, and relocation to Memphis
The Vancouver Grizzlies were a Canadian professional basketball team based in Vancouver, British Columbia. They were part of the Midwest Division of the Western Conference of the National Basketball Association (NBA). The team was established in 1995, along with the Toronto Raptors, as part of the NBA's expansion into Canada. Following the 2000–01 season, the team relocated to Memphis, Tennessee, United States, and were renamed as the Memphis Grizzlies. The Grizzlies played their home games at General Motors (GM) Place for the entirety of their six (6) seasons in Vancouver.
Like most expansion teams, the Grizzlies struggled in their early years. The team finished last in the division in five of its seasons, and never won more than 30% of its games in any of the team's seasons in Vancouver. In total, the team won 101 games, lost 359, and never qualified for the NBA playoffs. The two expansion teams were denied early draft picks in the first season, but the Grizzlies secured Shareef Abdur-Rahim in 1996. The team continued to lose games despite high draft picks. After they selected Steve Francis as second pick in 1999, he refused to play in Vancouver and was traded away. After the 1998–99 lockout, lower attendance and a weak Canadian dollar caused the owner Orca Bay Sports and Entertainment to start losing money on the franchise. After a failed attempt to sell the team to Bill Laurie, it was instead sold to Michael Heisley and subsequently moved to Memphis, Tennessee for the 2001–02 season.
The Memphis years (2001–present)
2001–2008: Pau Gasol era
The Grizzlies and Charlotte Hornets both applied with the NBA to relocate to Memphis, Tennessee on the same day, March 26, 2001. The Grizzlies' request was granted by the NBA. Memphis became the furthest city to the East among other cities of the Western teams. By the time the Grizzlies relocated, Memphis-based company FedEx hoped the team would change its name to the Memphis Express. The NBA quickly quashed that idea, ruling that they would not allow teams to be named for corporations. Although the Hornets failed in their quest to move to Memphis, they relocated from Charlotte to New Orleans before the start of the 2002-03 NBA season. Although not related, Memphis also had a professional football team of the same name in the WFL that folded with the league in 1975.
In the 2001 NBA Draft, the Atlanta Hawks drafted Pau Gasol as the 3rd overall pick, who was traded to the Grizzlies. After the Grizzlies' first season in Memphis, Gasol won the NBA Rookie of the Year Award. The Grizzlies also drafted Shane Battier, who quickly became an unofficial spokesman for the team and a fan favorite. However, despite the strong draft class, general manager Billy Knight was let go. After Billy Knight's departure and the 2001–02 season, the team hired former Los Angeles Laker and Hall of Famer Jerry West as general manager in 2002, who later received the 2003-04 NBA Executive of the Year Award. After West's arrival the team was changed a great deal from Knight's team, with the removal of Sidney Lowe as head coach after a dismal 0–8 start to the season and a great deal of player movement, with players such as Mike Miller and James Posey becoming vital to the team's success. During the 2002–03 NBA season season, Hubie Brown was hired to coach the Grizzlies. Brown won the NBA Coach of the Year Award during the next season when the Grizzlies made the NBA playoffs for the first time in team history in the spring of 2004 as the sixth seed in the Western Conference in a drastic change from being perennially one of the worst teams in the NBA.
However, Hubie Brown stepped down as head coach during the 2004–05 NBA season season. At the time of his resignation, the Grizzlies had a losing record but West was able to hire TNT analyst and former coach Mike Fratello to replace Brown. The Grizzlies' record markedly improved and the team advanced to the postseason for the second consecutive season. However, upon reaching the playoffs, the Grizzlies were once again swept out in the first round, this time by the Phoenix Suns. After this season, which ended tumultuously with anger between Fratello and many of the players, namely Bonzi Wells and Jason Williams, the team had an active 2005 offseason in which they revamped the team and added veteran talent. While the Grizzlies lost Bonzi Wells, Jason Williams, Stromile Swift, and James Posey, they acquired Damon Stoudamire, Bobby Jackson, Hakim Warrick, and Eddie Jones. They made the playoffs for the third consecutive year as well.
With their record they owned the fifth playoff seed in the Western Conference and would have to face the Dallas Mavericks, who swept the Grizzlies in 4 games.Following the 2006 NBA Draft, Jerry West traded Shane Battier to the Houston Rockets for their first round pick Rudy Gay of the University of Connecticut and Stromile Swift. Before the 2006–07 NBA season, the Grizzlies suffered a crippling blow when Pau Gasol broke his left foot while playing for the Spain national basketball team in the World Championships. The Grizzlies started the season 5–17 without Gasol, and then went 1–7 while he was limited to about 25 minutes per game. At that point, Fratello was fired and replaced by Tony Barone, Sr. as interim coach. Barone was the team's player personnel director and had never coached an NBA game though he had coached at the collegiate level for both Creighton and Texas A&M University being named coach of the year in their conferences three times during his tenure. Grizzlies finished the 2006–07 season with the league's worst 22–60 record, and Jerry West announced resignation from his position as the team's general manager shortly after end of the regular season. The team also hired highly touted Phoenix Suns assistant Marc Iavaroni to be the team's new head coach. Despite their last place finish, the Grizzlies, who held the best chance of landing the first pick in a draft, ended up with the fourth pick in the 2007 NBA Draft. With this pick, the Grizzlies selected Mike Conley, Jr., a guard from Ohio State.
On June 18, 2007, the Grizzlies named former Boston Celtics GM Chris Wallace as the team's General Manager and Vice President of Basketball Operations, replacing the retired West. A few days later, the Grizzlies hired former Philadelphia 76ers and Orlando Magic head coach Johnny Davis, longtime NBA assistant coach Gordon Chiesa, and the head coach of the 2007 NBA Development League champion Dakota Wizards, David Joerger, as the team's new assistant coaches. Gene Bartow, a Memphis basketball legend, was named the Grizzlies' President of Basketball Operations on August 16, 2007. On February 1, 2008, Gasol was traded to the Los Angeles Lakers for Kwame Brown, Javaris Crittenton, Aaron McKie, rights to Marc Gasol (Pau's younger brother), and 2008 and 2010 first round draft picks.
2008–2017: Post-Gasol era/"Grit and Grind"
On January 22, 2009, head coach Marc Iavaroni was fired and replaced on an interim basis by assistant coach Johnny Davis. To replace Iavaroni, Lionel Hollins was named the Grizzlies' head coach on January 25, 2009.
On June 25, 2009, with the 2nd Overall pick in the NBA Draft, Memphis selected Tanzanian Center Hasheem Thabeet from the University of Connecticut, then selected DeMarre Carroll from the University of Missouri with the 27th overall pick.
On September 9, 2009, the Grizzlies Signed free agent Allen Iverson to a single year, $3.5 million deal. Iverson had been the subject of some controversy due to the nature of his previous season with the Detroit Pistons, though he stated that he was excited about helping the team, and believed "God chose Memphis as the place that I will continue my career." However, he only played in three games (none of them in Memphis) before leaving for "personal problems." He was then waived by the Grizzlies.
Following Iverson's departure, the Grizzlies gradually improved. With new acquisition Zach Randolph playing at an all-star level, Marc Gasol's improvement and a commitment to defense, the Grizzlies were in playoff contention for much of the season, before finishing 10th in the West with a 40-42 record.
While in the playoff hunt in February 2011, the Grizzlies traded center Hasheem Thabeet, forward DeMarre Carroll, and a protected future first-round pick to the Houston Rockets for forward Shane Battier and guard Ishmael Smith. The Grizz also signed former Memphis Tigers standout Rodney Carney to a 10-day contract.
Going into the 2010–11 season, the Grizzlies celebrated the tenth year of basketball in Memphis. The season started with tremendous enthusiasm by the fan base in the Memphis area. Although the Grizzlies and their fans were celebrating the tenth season, the Grizzlies were also cheering for the eighth spot in the Western Conference Playoffs.
The team became known locally and nationally for its "Grit and Grind"-style of basketball which means disruptive defense through high pressure on the ball (they were the team with the most steals per game in 2010–11) and their inside-out offense (they were the highest scoring team in the paint also).
The Grizzlies then finally clinched their first playoff appearance in 5 years with a 101–96 home victory over the Sacramento Kings on April 8, 2011. The Grizzlies achieved several firsts in franchise history during the 2011 NBA Playoffs. Entering the playoffs as an eighth seed, the team won their first playoff game in franchise history on April 17, 2011 with a 101–98 victory on the road against the top seeded San Antonio Spurs. Memphis then won their first home playoff game when they beat the Spurs 91–88 on April 23, 2011. Finally, on April 29, the team won their first playoff series when they beat the Spurs in game 6, 99–91 to win the series 4–2. This was only the fourth time in NBA history that an 8 seed defeated a 1 seed, and only the second time in a best-of-seven series (the first two were in a best-of-five series). The Grizzlies' historic season came to an end after the Oklahoma City Thunder defeated them in game 7 of the Western Conference Semifinals. Marc Gasol, Zach Randolph, Shane Battier, and Hamed Haddadi became free agents after the 2010-2011 season.
The team re-signed Marc Gasol, and Hamed Haddadi after the 2010–11 season.
The Grizzlies found their way back into the post-season for the second time in six years in the 2011–12 season after a 103–91 home victory over the New Orleans Hornets on April 18, 2012. They finished the 2011–12 season with a 41–25 record, fourth in the Western Conference. However, they were eliminated in the first round by the Los Angeles Clippers in seven games.
During the 2012 off-season, the Grizzlies drafted Tony Wroten with the 25th overall pick. Their biggest signing in effort to improve their bench was bringing in Jerryd Bayless. They also acquired Wayne Ellington from the Minnesota Timberwolves in exchange for Dante Cunningham.
On June 11, 2012, Michael Heisley reportedly had an agreement in principle to sell the Memphis Grizzlies to communications technology magnate Robert J. Pera, who at 34 had a spot on Forbes' 2012 list of the 10 youngest billionaires in the world. The purchase price was in the $350 million range. On August 23, 2012, Pera reached an agreement with a group of local partners including J.R. "Pitt" Hyde, Staley Cates, Ed Dobbs, Duncan Williams and Billy Orgel. On October 25, 2012, Robert Pera was officially approved as the owner of the Memphis Grizzlies. On November 4, 2012, Pera named Jason Levien the Chief Executive Officer and Managing Partner of the Memphis Grizzlies. On December 13, 2012, ESPN announced that John Hollinger was hired by the Grizzlies as their new vice president of basketball operations.
On January 23, 2013, the Grizzlies acquired Jon Leuer from the Cleveland Cavaliers in exchange for Marreese Speights, Wayne Ellington, Josh Selby, and a future first-round pick. On January 30, 2013, the Grizzlies traded Rudy Gay and Hamed Haddadi to the Toronto Raptors in a three team deal also involving the Detroit Pistons. The Grizzlies acquired Tayshaun Prince and Austin Daye from the Pistons and Ed Davis and a future second-round pick from the Raptors.
At the end of the season, Memphis finished with their best franchise record of 56–26, second in the division and as the fifth seed in the playoffs. Also, Marc Gasol was NBA Defensive Player of the Year. In the opening round, Memphis defeated the Los Angeles Clippers in six games after trailing in the series 0–2. This avenged their defeat from the previous year at the hands of the Clippers. Memphis then went on to the Western Conference Finals for the first time in franchise history when they defeated the Oklahoma City Thunder 4–1 in their semi-finals series. This was a rematch of their meeting in the 2011 NBA Playoffs, which the Thunder won in seven games. However, the Grizzlies' season ended in the conference finals as they were swept by the eventual conference champions, San Antonio Spurs, in yet another rematch/reversal from the 2011 NBA Playoffs.
The Grizzlies struggled to begin the 2013–14 season, starting out at 14–18 with Marc Gasol out, and entered the All-Star break with a win-loss record of 29–23. They went 21–9 after, finishing in third place in the Southwest division and in seventh place in the Western Conference with a win-loss record of 50–32, including a 14-game winning streak at FedExForum. They faced the Oklahoma City Thunder in the playoffs and had a record four straight overtimes from games 2–5, going 3–1 in the overtimes. The Grizzlies fell 4–3, despite an effort by Gasol in game 7 without Randolph after he was suspended for punching Thunder center Steven Adams in game 6.
On October 29, 2014, the Grizzlies defeated the Minnesota Timberwolves 105–101 for the franchise's first victory in a season opener since 2000, the year before the team moved to Memphis.
In the 2014–15 season, the Grizzlies made the NBA playoffs as the fifth seed in the Western Conference. In the first round, the Grizzlies defeated the Portland Trail Blazers in five games. Games 4 and 5 were played without Mike Conley, who in Game 3 suffered multiple facial fractures in a collision with Blazers guard C. J. McCollum. In the second round, they found themselves facing off against the top seeded Golden State Warriors and MVP Stephen Curry. The Warriors took Game 1, and Conley returned in Game 2 to lead the Grizzlies to a 108–95 victory. Memphis took a 2–1 series lead before Golden State ultimately dispatched the Grizzlies in six games.
On April 1, 2016, the Grizzlies signed their 28th player for the season, an NBA record. On July 6, 2017, the team's management announced that Randolph's number 50 jersey would be retired in the future after he became a free agent, and eventually signed with the Sacramento Kings.
2017–present: Post-"Grit and Grind", rebuilding
After the end of the 2018-19 season, the Controlling Owner Robert Pera announced a restructuring of the Grizzlies' basketball operations department: “In order to put our team on the path to sustainable success, it was necessary to change our approach to basketball operations". J.B. Bickerstaff was relieved from his duties as Head Coach and General Manager Chris Wallace was reallocated to a role exclusively in player scouting. Jason Wexler was announced as Team President and Zachary Kleiman was promoted to General Manager, as the Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations.
On June 12th 2019, the Grizzlies announced Taylor Jenkins as the team's new Head Coach.
On June 19th 2019, the Grizzlies traded franchise point guard Mike Conley Jr. to the Utah Jazz, officially closing the "Grit and Grind" era. In return, the Grizzlies received Grayson Allen, Kyle Korver, Jae Crowder and the 23rd pick in the 2019 NBA Draft.
With the second pick in the 2019 NBA draft, they selected sophomore Ja Morant out of Murray State University. Additionally, they received junior Brandon Clarke after he was selected by the Oklahoma City Thunder out of Gonzaga with the 21st pick, and immediately traded to the Grizzlies for the 23rd pick (via the Utah Jazz) and the Grizzlies' 2024 second round pick.
Note: W = Wins, L = Losses, % = Percentage
|2003-04||50||32||.610||Lost First Round||San Antonio 4, Memphis 0|
|2004-05||45||37||.549||Lost First Round||Phoenix 4, Memphis 0|
|2005-06||49||33||.598||Lost First Round||Dallas 4, Memphis 0|
|2010-11||46||36||.561|| Won First Round|
Lost Conference Semifinals
| Memphis 4, San Antonio 2|
Oklahoma City 4, Memphis 3
|2011-12||41||25||.621||Lost First Round||LA Clippers 4, Memphis 2|
|2012-13||56||26||.683|| Won First Round|
Won Conference Semifinals
Lost Conference Finals
| Memphis 4, LA Clippers 2|
Memphis 4, Oklahoma City 1
San Antonio 4, Memphis 0
|2013-14||50||32||.610||Lost First Round||Oklahoma City 4, Memphis 3|
|2014-15||55||27||.671|| Won First Round|
Lost Conference Semifinals
| Memphis 4, Portland 1|
Golden State 4, Memphis 2
|2015-16||42||40||.512||Lost First Round||San Antonio 4, Memphis 0|
|2016-17||43||39||.524||Lost First Round||San Antonio 4, Memphis 2|
- 3 - Grayson Allen
- 1 - Kyle Anderson
- 24 - Dillon Brooks
- 5 - Bruno Caboclo
- 15 - Brandon Clarke
- 99 - Jae Crowder
- 23 - Marko Gudurić
- 44 - Solomon Hill
- 9 - Andre Iguodala
- 13 - Jaren Jackson
- 20 - Josh Jackson
- 21 - Tyus Jones
- 46 - John Konchar
- 0 - De'Anthony Melton
- 12 - Ja Morant
- 17 - Jonas Valančiūnas
- 18 - Yuta Watanabe
The Grizzlies have yet to formally retire a number, but have announced plans to retire their first number at an as-yet-undetermined time. After the Sacramento Kings signed Zach Randolph during the 2017 off-season, the team announced that the no. 50 that Randolph wore from 2010 to 2017 would be retired. Just before the 2017–18 season, the team also announced that Tony Allen's no. 9 jersey would also be retired following his signing with the New Orleans Pelicans. After trading Marc Gasol to the Toronto Raptors during the 2018–19 season's trade deadline, the team announced that Gasol's no. 33 would be retired. After trading Mike Conley Jr. to the Utah Jazz during the 2019 off-season, the team announced they would retire Conley Jr.'s no. 11.
Franchise and NBA records
Career statistical leaders
- Games–Rudy Gay (479)
- Minutes Played–Pau Gasol (16,727)
- Field Goals Made–Pau Gasol (3,286)
- Field Goals Attempted–Pau Gasol (6,459)
- 3-Point Field Goals Made–Mike Miller (737)
- 3-Point Field Goals Attempted–Mike Miller (1,778)
- Free Throws Made–Pau Gasol (2,284)
- Free Throws Attempted–Pau Gasol (3,130)
- Offensive Rebounds–Pau Gasol (1,187)
- Defensive Rebounds–Pau Gasol (2,864)
- Total Rebounds–Pau Gasol (4,051)
- Assists–Mike Conley (2,085)
- Steals–Rudy Gay (535)
- Blocked Shots–Pau Gasol (868)
- Turnovers–Pau Gasol (1,224)
- Personal Fouls–Bryant Reeves (1,365)
- Points–Pau Gasol (8,872)
Per game statistical leaders
- Minutes Played–O.J. Mayo (38.0)
- Field Goals Made–Shareef Abdur-Rahim (7.43)
- Field Goals Attempted–Shareef Abdur-Rahim (16.03)
- 3-Point Field Goals Made–Mike Miller (2.0)
- 3-Point Field Goals Attempted–Jason Williams (5.38)
- Free Throws Made–Shareef Abdur-Rahim (5.73)
- Free Throws Attempted–Shareef Abdur-Rahim (7.15)
- Offensive Rebounds–Shareef Abdur-Rahim (2.53)
- Defensive Rebounds–Pau Gasol (7.3)
- Total Rebounds–Pau Gasol (9.8)
- Assists–Mike Bibby (7.83)
- Steals–Greg Anthony (1.83)
- Blocked Shots–Pau Gasol (2.1)
- Turnovers–Shareef Abdur-Rahim (3.06)
- Personal Fouls–Bryant Reeves (3.46)
- Points–Shareef Abdur-Rahim (23.8)
- Pau Gasol–2002
- Hubie Brown–2004
- Jerry West–2004
- Mike Miller–2006
Television and radio
The Grizzles appear on television on the cable channel SportSouth, owned and operated by Fox Sports Net as a sister station to Fox Sports Tennessee. The TV crew is Pete Pranica on commentary, Brevin Knight or Sean Tuohy on color analysis, and Rob Fischer on sideline reporting.
- Stu Jackson – 1994–2000
- Billy Knight – 2000–2002
- Dick Versace – 2002–2005
- Jerry West – 2005–2007
- Chris Wallace – 2007–2019
- Jason Wexler – 2019–present
- ↑ "NBA rejects Memphis Express moniker". cbc.ca. 2001-05-22. http://www.cbc.ca/sports/story/2001/05/22/memphis010522.html. Retrieved 2007-11-22.
- ↑ Yahoo! Sports - Sports News, Scores, Rumors, Fantasy Games, and more
- ↑ . http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2006/basketball/nba/12/28/bc.bkn.grizzlies.fratello.ap/index.html. Template:Dead link
- ↑ Springer, Shira (2007-06-19). "GM Wallace joins Grizzlies". The Boston Globe. http://www.boston.com/sports/basketball/celtics/articles/2007/06/19/gm_wallace_joins_grizzlies/. Retrieved 2007-11-22.
- ↑ "Grizzlies name Gene Bartow President of Hoops LP". NBA.com. 2007-08-16. http://www.nba.com/grizzlies/news/bartow_named_president_hoops_lp-070816.html. Retrieved 2007-11-22.
- ↑ ESPN - In dire need of frontcourt help, Lakers acquire Gasol from Grizzlies - NBA
- ↑ "Gasol dealt to Lakers in blockbuster trade". http://www.nba.com/lakers/news/080201gasol_trade.html. Retrieved 2008-02-01.
- ↑ "Grizzlies introduce Lionel Hollins as new coach". http://www.commercialappeal.com/news/2009/jan/25/grizzlies-introduce-hollins-new-coach/.
- ↑ Grizzlies Officially Waive Iverson, "Grizzlies officially waive Iverson", Yahoo! News, November 17, 2009.
- ↑ [http://sports.yahoo.com/nba/recap?gid=2011040829 "Randolph, Conley lead Grizzlies past Kings 101-96", accessed April 9, 2011.