So they can try to build a new team that won't be able to win a title either? So they can hope to put together a different roster that doesn't have any greater chance to win it all than this one does?
There isn't much that I like about Kevin Durant and the Golden State Warriors turning the NBA into a season-long inevitability. But if it shuts up the misguided Memphians who think it's time for the Grizzlies to blow up the roster, I'm at least happy about that.
You've heard the blow-it-up theories, haven't you? You've heard the crazy talk.
Time to trade Marc Gasol for a lottery pick. Time to let Tony Allen, Zach Randolph and Vince Carter walk. Time to deal Mike Conley when he's at the peak of his value. Time to begin again, start fresh, clear the Grizzlies decks.
And why would the Grizzlies want to plunge themselves back into the misery of NBA lottery land? Because this team will never win a title. At least, that's the idea.
To which I say: Of course it won't win a title. And neither will any team the Grizzlies could build in its place.
The Grizzlies can't build a team that can beat the Warriors. They can't assemble a roster that will beat the team with four of the best 20 players in the NBA.
This is not just the reality for the Grizzlies, of course. It's the reality for every team in the league.
And it stinks, honestly. Anybody who thinks it's good for the league should look at the overall TV ratings. No, not the ratings for the NBA Finals. The combined ratings for all regular-season and playoff games, which are at a five-year low.
But at least it liberates us from the fiction that the Grizzlies need to be blown up as part of some phantom title chase. At least it liberates us to enjoy what these Grizzlies are and can continue to be. Which is: A competitive, entertaining team that redefined the franchise and helped reshape the way Memphians think about themselves and their community.
No, there hasn't been a parade down Beale Street. But there's been parade to the playoffs for seven straight years. Why not try to make that eight? Or nine? Or 10 and beyond?
There will certainly come a time when the Grizzlies are a lousy team that loses 50-plus games and finds its hope in lottery ping pong balls. But why not put off that moment as long as possible?
I didn't honestly need the Warriors's invincibility to persuade me of this, either. I just needed to look at some of the teams that will be picking high in this year's draft.
The Minnesota Timberwolves have the seventh pick in the draft. They've been out of the playoffs 13 straight years.
The Sacramento Kings have the fifth pick in the draft. They've been out of the playoffs 11 straight years.
The Phoenix Suns have the fourth pick in the draft. They've been out of the playoffs seven straight years.
The Philadelphia 76ers and Orlando Magic have the third and sixth picks in the draft. They've each been out of the playoffs five straight years.
There is no sport that's quite as ugly as ugly NBA basketball. The futility can go on and on and on.
At best, you get really lucky and win the lottery. But what if it's a year when someone like Anthony Bennett or Andrea Bargnani is the No. 1 pick? Or maybe you get really lucky, win the lottery and get to draft a superstar like Anthony Davis? Then you're the New Orleans Pelicans, who aren't nearly as good as the not-good-enough-to-win-a-title Griz.
Oh, and all that is in addition to the sad fact that the Grizzlies don't even have their first-round draft pick in 2019 (subject to certain protections) because they sent it to Boston for (gag) Jeff Green.
So, rebuilding is out of the question for the Grizzlies at the moment. They're going to try and be the best pretty-good basketball team that they can be. They're going to make every effort to sign JaMychal Green to a reasonable contract. They're going to hope that Chandler Parsons becomes the player they signed him to be. If he is, the Grizzlies might win 50-plus games and a round in the playoffs. Conceivably, they might win two.
Maybe that's not enough for the blow-it-up crowd. Maybe it should be championship-or-bust. But in this NBA, it's not reasonable to dream of titles. The dream is two or three more entertaining springs.
The Commercial Appeal—