Memphis gained a NBA team when the Vancouver Grizzlies relocated there in 2001. The Vancouver franchise only existed from 1995-2001 and while there the Grizzlies were never able to become a competitive team. Meaning that Memphis will gets the honor of having all the firsts for the Grizzlies franchise. After moving to Memphis the Grizzlies took two major steps in the right direction in the 2001 NBA Draft by trading for Pau Gasol and drafting Shane Battier. In 2003-04 Memphis made it to the NBA playoffs for the first time in franchise history. The Grizzlies first taste of postseason play was a short one, as the Grizzlies were swept in four games by the San Antonio Spurs in the first round. Memphis would go on too make the playoffs in each of the next two seasons, but were met with the same fate and are still searching for their first frachise playoff win. The Grizzlies fell apart after their three straight playoff appearances, but ended the 2009-10 season with a flash of promise that they will be back in the playoffs in the near future. Here are the best five Memphis Grizzlies from 2001-2010. (Only accomplishments and stats while playing for the Memphis Grizzlies from 2000-2010 were considered.)
1. Pau Gasol
Yes, Pau did once play for a team not named the Lakers, in fact he did so for six and half seasons. Gasol made an immediate splash in the NBA, scoring 17.6 points per game and winning the 2002 NBA Rookie of the Year Award. He made his first Western Conference All-Star Team in 2006 and scored a career high 20.8 points per game in 2007.
2. Rudy Gay
Gay is one of the bright rays of hope for the Memphis Grizzlies heading into the next decade. He has averaged 17.4 points and 5.5 rebounds over his four seasons with Memphis. On July 1st 2010 Gay signed a five year contract with the Memphis Grizzlies.
3. Shane Battier
Battier was drafted by the Grizzlies with the sixth overall pick in the 2001 draft. The Duke Alum played five seasons with the Grizzlies, with his highest point total coming in his rookie season when he averaged 14.4 points per game. Battier is one of the few players in the NBA that gives his team a little bit of everything, including great defense. Other than his defense he isn’t great in any one area, but can provide a little bit of help with points, three pointers, assists, rebounds and steals.
4. Mike Miller
This sharpshooter played five and half seasons for Memphis, saving his best for the last two seasons in Memphis. He averaged 18.5 points per contest in 2007 and followed that up with 16.4 points per game in 2008. He won the NBA Sixth Man of the Year Award in 2006.
5. Jason Williams
Williams’ still plays in the NBA, but it seems like his days of being household NBA name never even happened. Do you remember when every kid on the playground or in the gym was trying to be like “White Chocolate”. Williams’ played four seasons with the Grizzlies, topping 8 assists per game in each of the first two seasons.