NBCSports.com’s Dan Feldman is grading every team’s offseason based on where the team stands now relative to its position entering the offseason. A ‘C’ means a team is in similar standing, with notches up or down from there.
As I’ve written repeatedly: The Grizzlies’ insistence in trying to win immediately with Marc Gasol and Mike Conley is likely to yield unfulfilling results in the present and leave Memphis less prepared for the future. This Western Conference is so unforgiving, the Grizzlies are are longshots just to make the playoffs, let alone advance. But they should also be good enough to miss out on a high drat pick in what appears to be a top-heavy draft. An expensive roster and unwillingness to pay the luxury tax leave little flexibility.
But in that context, Memphis added plenty of short- and long-term talent this offseason.
The Grizzlies used every mechanism available – draft, free agency and trade. The haul: Jaren Jackson Jr., Kyle Anderson, Garrett Temple, Omri Casspi, Jevon Carter.
Memphis did well to pick Jackson No. 3 despite his initial reluctance and unclear fit with Gasol. Jackson came around on the Grizzlies, and he was too talented to pass up. Though he’ll probably play center in the long run, he might begin his career at power forward due to strength concerns.
Carter provided solid value high in the second round. Unfortunately, Memphis could sign him to just a two-year deal, limiting upside on the value he’ll provide.
Anderson, signed to a mid-level offer sheet the Spurs didn’t match, is darned productive. His lack of athleticism will limit him in some matchups, but he should provide value on this deal.
Even after a lost year with the Warriors, Casspi is not far removed from productiveness. A minimum contract is worth finding out whether he can return to form.
The second-rounder surrendered to get Temple is not insignificant, but the Grizzlies cleared a roster crunch by dealing Ben McLemore and Deyonta Davis – both of whom seemed to run their course in Memphis – to the Kings. Temple should help the Grizzlies on the wing.
It wasn’t all gains for Memphis. The Grizzlies lost Tyreke Evans (to the Pacers), but that was less about this offseason and more the predictable outcome of last year’s failed trade deadline. Evans was so good in Memphis last season. He’ll be missed if this team is still trying to compete.
The Grizzlies also missed an opportunity to conduct an open coaching search, keeping interim J.B. Bickerstaff. I’m not as down on retaining him as I am the process behind it.
Ultimately, I’m just not sure where all these additions get Memphis. At least Jackson and Anderson will be around for years. They might finally provide a roadmap to a post-Gasol-Conley future while still helping in the interim.
But it’ll still be a while for that vision to come to fruition, if the Grizzlies ever execute a next step.
Offseason grade: B-