Dillon Brooks made waves a few days ago when he said that he wanted to face the Los Angeles Lakers in the first round of the 2023 NBA Playoffs.
At face value, his statement made perfect sense. The Memphis Grizzlies are a young team that still have a lot to prove, and they finished as the second seed in the Western Conference even after a multitude of issues including a suspension for Ja Morant, who decided that waving a gun at a strip club on Instagram Live was a good idea.
It’s also worth noting, though, that Memphis have become known for trying to manufacture drama and antagonize potential opponents. They tried to get under the skin of the Golden State Warriors in the playoffs last year, but they couldn’t deliver enough on the court to win the series, especially after Morant got injured midway through the series.
The drama from that series will surely be outdone by the Lakers – Grizzlies matchup. There’s already been plenty of run-ins between the teams this season, including the famous Shannon Sharpe incident that saw the former NFL player and current sports broadcaster get in the face of the entire Grizzlies squad a few months ago.
It’s not the first time that this Grizzlies squad has gotten heated with the Lakers either. LeBron James has previously shown his displeasure at perceived disrespect from Memphis as well.
With their ability to get under an opponent’s skin, there should be no shortage of drama through the entire series. What the Grizzlies need to prove, though, is that they are capable of doing more than talking shit. They still haven’t produced a defining series yet, and their biggest moment so far was knocking the Warriors out of the play-in a couple of seasons ago.
The Lakers will provide plenty of entertainment from their end too. With so many storylines, including James’ potential last chance at a title, to Anthony Davis’ quest to shed the ‘street clothes’ label that have dogged him, the city of Los Angeles and their fans around the world will be keeping a close eye on what happens in the first round.
Memphis will need to be careful, though. While James is at the tail end of his career, it’s often not wise to poke a sleeping bear. James has shown that he’s still capable of turning it on when it matters, just not through entire games anymore. In the postgame presser after beating the Minnesota Timberwolves, it sure sounded like James is focused at the task at hand. Plus, the Grizzlies will be missing starting center Steven Adams, so that will complicate their ability to deal with the Lakers’ size.
While I deeply dislike both the Lakers and the Grizzlies, I sure as hell won’t be missing a minute of this series. I can’t wait to see what drama unfolds.