MEMPHIS, Tenn. — This was nothing short of historic for the Memphis Grizzlies but the ultimate goal has yet to be accomplished.
“The goal was and is going to continue to be to win a championship,” said GM Zach Kleiman.
Grizzlies Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations, Zach Kleiman’s goal is no different from the goal he set at the end of the 2020-21 NBA season.
However, when it comes to producing results, this year's Memphis Grizzlies team changed a lot.
From falling to Portland in the 2020 play-in game, followed by just barely escaping a sweep against Utah in the first round of the 2021 playoffs, this season the Grizzlies fell just two games short of the western conference finals.
Although Memphis fans may not have seen this amount of success happening in such a short period, Jaren Jackson Jr did.
“I thought we were going to be this good. We just talked about it too much we wanted it more than you could imagine,” said Jackson.
Despite their youth, leadership and accountability played a big role in the team's success.
Headed into the offseason, Desmond Bane said he’s already planning to help teammates like Ziare Williams take his game to the next level.
“Whether he likes it, I’m going to be dragging him around making sure we get that work in,” said Bane.
Thanks to leaders like Bane, along with the closeness of the team on and off the court, Jaren and many other players are hoping the front office can find a way to keep this roster together.
“It’s a business but if we can find a way to get past that and really develop into something special you have to cherish that and keep it under control,” said Jackson.
Especially with players like big man Steven Adams who turned his past hostile reputation in Memphis, into what seems to be a second home. Adams is even embracing his new Memphis-themed nickname.
“Apparently they call me 'Aqua-Mane' now which is sick, yeah that’s sick,” said Adams.
However, considering a possible 200 million dollar supermax contract extension in talks for Ja Morant, holding this roster together might be a test for the front office.
However, although next year's roster is up in the air, the respect that Memphis has earned nationally, has been solidified.
“Now we’re at a time where we’re pretty much one of the best teams in the league and a lot of people believe that and a lot of people see what’s going on in Memphis and how bright the future is for us,” Ja Morant explained.
When asked if he would want to return to Memphis, he responded, "Hell yes."