Three seasons ago the Memphis Grizzlies finished their regular season campaign with a 24-58 record. During that season they had three head coaches (Marc Iavaroni, Johnny Davis, and Lionel Hollins). The franchise was the model of inconsistency. They were essentially turning into a Midwest version of the Los Angeles Clippers.
Surprisingly it is Lionel Hollins now leading the way in helping the Grizzlies project a new image. An image that portrays an exciting brand of basketball with success to back it up.
As of this writing, the Grizzlies have the best record in the NBA with a clip of 11-2. Offensively, the Grizz are sixth in the NBA with an average of a shade under 100 points per game (99.62). Defensively, the team has surged to the second ranked defense in the league and is only allowing 91 points per outing.
The most impressive thing about this team is how they work together. Rudy Gay, Zach Randolph, Marc Gasol, and Mike Conley work the ball around with each other and seem to have consistent stats on a nightly basis.
Randolph has been a force on the boards as well as with getting the ball through the hoop. His 171 rebounds leads the team and his 220 points places him second behind Gay.
Most people here on the west coast have been too wrapped up in our Lakers failures to appreciate how good Memphis has looked so far this year. After taking time to watch a decent amount of game footage, including the 106-98 loss they handed to the Lake Show last week, it appears these Grizzlies may be for real.
Although only 13 games into the season, the team has impressive wins over Miami (104-86), Oklahoma City (107-97), New York (105-95), and the Lakers.
It's too early to say, for most teams, if they will be able to sustain the success we have seen from them so far this season. One thing is for certain -- Memphis has reason for optimism.
Sound Off: Are the Grizzlies built for a legitimate shot at making the NBA Finals this year?
Joe Chacon is a staff writer for Operation Sports. You can follow him on Twitter @JoeChacon.