Third-year head coach Taylor Jenkins took over a 33-win Grizzlies team in 2019-20 — and turned them into championship contenders.
With eight games remaining, Memphis clinched the postseason in a 133-103 win over the Pacers on Thursday. Not only have the Grizzlies (51-23) been winning without Ja Morant, who’s out for at least two weeks (knee), but they have the second-best record in the NBA with the second-youngest roster in the league.
- The Grizzlies are 16-2 without Morant this season; they won 13 of those by 10+ points.
- Without Ja, their offensive rating is 118.9, they’re scoring 118.1 PPG, and shooting 38.4% from three — which would all rank first in the NBA.
- Jenkins and GM Zachary Kleiman are working with the second-lowest payroll in the league ($117.3M).
The 37-year-old comes from Mike Budenholzer’s coaching tree, which includes prominent player development coaches such as Quin Snyder and Kenny Atkinson.
Even with a firm grip on hosting a first-round series — and a chance to hold on to the 2-seed, the Grizzlies have just the ninth-best (+2200*) title odds.
But at this rate, no one will want to run into these Grizzlies in the playoffs — with or without Morant.