The 2010s were truly a rollercoaster for the Memphis Grizzlies. The Grit and Grind era provided a lifetime worth of memories, though the ultimate downfall toward the end of the decade was painful to endure. However, going from a Western Conference Finals appearance to assembling one of the strongest young cores in the NBA in just a seven-year span is something most teams would kill for.
Memphis Grizzlies All-Decade Team for the 2010s
Assembling the all-decade starting five for the Memphis Grizzlies is easier than counting James Harden’s championship rings. In fact, the starting five for the 2010s could essentially serve as an all-time starting five for the franchise. It features the three greatest players to ever suit up for Memphis, with two more fan-favorites alongside them.
Point Guard: Mike Conley
Mike Conley is the greatest player in franchise history. Full stop. Conley is the all-time leader in points and assists and helped elevate the Grizzlies to an all-time high in the early 2010s. His criminally underrated career in Memphis may have fallen through the cracks in the national media, but hometown fans could never understate how phenomenal he was.
The end of the Grit and Grind era became official when Conley was traded to the Utah Jazz prior to the 2019 season, but his legacy lives on.
Shooting Guard: Tony Allen
Tony Allen defined the Grit and Grind era better than anyone else. In fact, he coined the phrase. His tenacious defense and unrelenting hustle propelled the Grizzlies on both sides of the floor, even when it didn’t show up on the scoreboard. The combination of Allen and Conley created one of the most intimidating backcourts in the entire NBA. Allen didn’t just represent the Grizzlies, but the entire city of Memphis.
Small Forward: Rudy Gay
Small Forward is the hardest position to fill for the Memphis Grizzlies All-Decade Team, but Rudy Gay steps up to the challenge. Though he only played for Memphis through the 2012 season, he provided a plethora of electrifying highlights during his time in Grind City. Gay provided a boost on both ends of the floor, and the Grizzlies never truly found a replacement once he left town.
Power Forward: Zach Randolph
Zach Randolph — better known as “ZBo” — was a hero for the Memphis Grizzlies. Though Conley may be the greatest player in franchise history, Randolph may certainly be the most important and iconic. He was somewhat of a hybrid of Tim Duncan and Kevin Garnett with his mid-range bag and trash-talk expertise. The Grizzlies wouldn’t have been who they became without him, and they’ll never be the same without him.
Center: Marc Gasol
He was preceded by his older brother, but the one true Gasol for the Grizzlies is Marc Gasol. Along with Conley, Gasol is the second-greatest player in franchise history and has a solid argument for first place. At his peak, he was one of the best centers in the entire NBA and almost single-handedly propelled the team through several playoff runs with his offensive prowess and defensive versatility.
When Gasol was traded to the Toronto Raptors at the 2019 trade deadline, everyone knew the Grit and Grind era was truly over. Though he didn’t have the chance to bring Memphis a title, Grizzlies fans celebrated his championship with the Raptors as if he were the MVP.
Compiling a bench for the Grizzlies was not as easy of a task. Though the Grizzlies had several solid pieces to accompany their stars, none truly stick out amongst the pack.
Guard: Mario Chalmers
Mario Chalmers‘ run in Memphis didn’t last long, but it was fun to watch along the way. Chalmers was acquired in a trade with the Miami Heat and immediately provided a boost for Memphis. He was playing solid basketball until an Achilles injury derailed his career during the 2016 season.
Guard: Courtney Lee
Courtney Lee was always a really solid contributor while never really breaking into the spotlight of the other Grit and Grind legends. Fans and teammates alike could always count on Lee for consistent, positive contributions, but his lack of shot volume surely hurt his stat lines and kept him out of the company of the other Memphis elites.
Forward: Tayshaun Prince
Out of the Gay trade, the Grizzlies received Tayshaun Prince. Though he never quite reached the offensive level of Gay, he fit right in with his defensive abilities. He embraced the Grit and Grind state of mind and was a key contributor during the 2013 Western Conference Finals run. Now, he’s an executive for the team, and will always be embraced by fans.
Forward: JaMychael Green
Somehow, the Grizzlies found a diamond in the rough with JaMychal Green. Memphis signed Green after his 10-day contract with the San Antonio Spurs, and he eventually turned into a cornerstone player. Like most players on this list, his defensive abilities stood out as he continued the trend of great Memphis defenders.
Center: Jaren Jackson Jr.
Though he only had one season that qualified for this list, it’s hard to leave off Jaren Jackson Jr. He is quickly becoming one of the best young players in the entire NBA. With the future in his hands, the Grizzlies will return to greatness sooner than later. Especially when you pair Jackson with another budding superstar in Ja Morant. The duo will undoubtedly headline the 2020s All-Decade Team the way Conley, Gasol, and Randolph anchored this one.
Embed from Getty Images