While NBA teams are battling it out in the Playoffs, the off season for O.J. Mayo and the rest of the Memphis Grizzles has begun. Mayo, who is known to be a hard worker in the off-season, will no doubt be improving on all facets of his game. He finished his 2nd year (17.5 points per game, 3.8 rebounds, 3.0 assist) with similar stats to his rookie year but did it playing with more talented players and a better team.
The Grizzlies entered the season as the youngest and least experienced team in the league and a disastrous start of the season (1-8) and selfishness of Allen Iverson made it seem like it was going to be a long year. But after Iverson was released, the Grizzlies started playing better, including a hot December and January, to finish the season 40-42, 16 games better than last season, including a franchise record, 11 straight home wins.
Despite the improvement and having a lot to look forward to, Grizzlies majority owner Michael Heisley wasn’t happy with the lack of fan support at home. There were often a lot of empty seats in FedExForum, which was a bit of a surprise since the Memphis Grizzlies had one of the cheapest basketball tickets per game, at $5 each.
Next season, the Grizzles have under contract O.J. Mayo, Zach Randolph, Marc Gasol, Mike Conley, Hasheem Thabeet, Hamed Haddadi, Darrell Arthur, DeMarre Carroll, and Sam Young. They will also have 3 first round draft picks in the NBA draft, including a lottery pick. The top priority will be resigning Rudy Gay and Ronnie Brewer, who will be restricted free agents. Head coach Lionel Hollins just signed a three-year contract extension.
If they are able to resign Rudy and their core players improve, the Grizzlies figure to have a great shot at making the Playoffs next season.