Things are going rough in Memphis at the moment. For a team that’s built a reputation for talking a lot of shit, they haven’t done much winning recently. In fact, ever since they got into it with Shannon Sharpe in a game against the LA Lakers, things have rapidly gone downhill.
The Grizzlies have gone 1-7 since that incident, with their lone victory being against an Indiana Pacers squad that was missing All-Star guard Tyrese Haliburton. They lost five-straight games to the Lakers, Phoenix Suns, Sacramento Kings, Golden State Warriors and Minnesota Timberwolves before beating the Pacers, and now have lost two in a row to the Portland Trail Blazers and Cleveland Cavaliers.
A significant number of fans around the league have relished this current slump, because the Grizzlies have become one of the most unlikeable franchises in the NBA. Their penchant for smack talk, and the presence of class-A dickheads like Dillon Brooks on the team, makes it hard for anyone outside of Memphis to root for them.
Speaking of Brooks, here’s a video of him elbowing Donovan Mitchell in the nuts today.
While it’s fair to say that the Grizzlies have been missing key personnel in a lot of those losses like Steven Adams and Jaren Jackson Jr., it still doesn’t take away from the fact that they’ve become annoying to listen to. I loved watching Ja Morant and the rest of the team rise up into a power in the Western Conference, but the tough guy schtick is getting old.
Brooks also isn’t the only one who pisses people off, and Desmond Bane is another one that draws a lot of ire. Bane got called for a technical against Cleveland as well after making unnecessary contact with Cedi Osman and then talking shit to him.
It’s easy to ignore people that talk a lot when they’re winning, which was what the Grizzlies were doing up until recently. However, now they’re showing that they’re both bad winners and bad losers. For a team that’s loaded with talent, and has an exciting star in Ja Morant, it’s annoying to watch the way they behave on and off the court. Hell, they have two All-Stars this year, and Bane was playing like one before he hurt his toe. With that kind of talent, and their ability to win before this slump, fans should be embracing the Grizzlies.
I guess things change when you stop being the underdog. I have no doubt that the Grizzlies will be back with a vengeance while they get to full strength, but their recent run has shown more about the character of many of their players than any winning streak has. The cheap shots, along with other consistent misbehavior, just makes it easy to root against them.