2017-18 Record: 22-60 (14th in West)
Players Added: Kyle Anderson (free agency), Jevon Carter (draft), Omri Casspi (free agency), Jaren Jackson Jr. (draft), Shelvin Mack (free agency), Garrett Temple (trade with SAC)
Players Lost: Deyonta Davis (trade with SAC), Tyreke Evans (free agency), Dakari Johnson (trade with ORL), Omari Johnson (waivers), Jarell Martin (trade with ORL), Ben McLemore (trade with SAC)
Projected Team MVP: Mike Conley
When the Grizzlies were at the peak of their powers, the team’s centerpiece was Marc Gasol. Along the way, though, the former Defensive Player of the Year and three-time All-Star ceded that distinction to Mike Conley, if only due to the three-year age gap between the two cornerstones.
Now, Conley is the best player on the roster in Memphis but, in the same breath, the long-time standout point guard appeared in only 12 games last season. That was an aberration in that the former Ohio State star appeared in at least 50 games in every other NBA season of his career but, in short, there isn’t much behind Conley on this roster and the Grizzlies need both health and effectiveness at the point of attack.
When he’s healthy, Conley is a tremendous player. He enjoyed the best statistical season of his career in 2016-17, averaging 20.5 points and 6.3 assists per game while an impressive 60.4 percent true shooting. That might not be a realistic baseline at the age of 30 but, given the fall-off from Gasol, Conley is at the center of everything in Memphis and the “most valuable” distinction in this space makes that even brighter with his singular importance to the cause.