Monday, January 21, 2008

Halfway Through Season, Grizzlies on Pace for 24 - 58

Last season, the Grizzlies were a league worst 22-60. This year, they're on pace to make insignificant gains on that record. (Notably, two teams, Minnesota and Seattle, are vying for a worse record than either Griz squad.)

The Grizzlies' record doesn't demonstrate the improvements they've made. The Grizzlies are playing better basketball, and they have a bright future. Still, the Grizzlies are a terrible team, their record is below what I and I think a lot of folks - including national sports writers but especially fans and people within the organizations - expected.

Monday's game against the Bulls gives hope that the Grizzlies can be better than their record. They were fun to watch and clearly the superior team. They played team basketball.

Even Stromile Swift looked good. Almost everyone (save maybe Darko Milicic) put together a solid effort. They were able to win without playing the best game of their careers, and they didn't make some second rate bench player for Chicago look like Michael Jordan.

If I remember correctly, the season before the Grizzlies made their first playoff appearance, they began playing competitively with better teams. They lost many close matches, and they finished the season stronger than they started. There's reason to believe the same could happen this season. Their early schedule has been tougher than rest of the season, they are keeping many games close, and they're starting the become comfortable with Iavaroni's system.

Still, the bottom line is that halfway through the season, the Grizzlies are a disappointment, and they can't be complacent. They can't assume next year will be different.

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