MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — The NBA’s youngest team to reach a conference semifinal in the past 25 years has wasted little time turning disappointment into motivation.
Yes, the Memphis Grizzlies soaked in every lesson to help chase their first NBA championship.
“This is going to motivate us moving forward,” Memphis coach Taylor Jenkins said. “The growth individually, the growth collectively from this season, it’s only going to make us better. This is a step in the direction of this bright future that we talk about all the time.”
The Grizzlies have been taking big strides since a franchise reorganization in April 2019. They’ve gone from being knocked out of the playoff chase in the Orlando bubble in August 2020 to earning the No. 8 seed through the play-in tournament a year ago.
The NBA’s second youngest team earned the West’s No. 2 seed for the first time by matching the most wins in franchise history with 56. The Grizzlies won their first playoff series in seven years in six games before losing in six games to the Golden State Warriors — the last three without All-Star guard Ja Morant due to a bone bruise in his right knee.
Dillon Brooks summed up the Grizzlies’ future after losing a series to the three-time NBA champs that reached its sixth Western Finals in eight years, with two Memphis losses by a combined four points.
“We’re young, they’re getting old, so they know we’re coming every single year,” Brooks said.