Ranking the greatest Memphis Grizzlies of all time

Profile Picture: Dan Halverson

March 18th, 2021

The Memphis Grizzlies became a part of the NBA in 2001 after the franchise moved on from a six-year stint in Vancouver. For its relatively short lifespan thus far in the NBA, the team has produced a good number of elite talent.

Let’s rank the top five Memphis Grizzlies of all time.

5. Pau Gasol

Position: Center
Accolades: 6x NBA All-Star, 4x All-NBA, 2x NBA champion
Years active: 2002-2019

Pau Gasol has been playing professional basketball for a long time, so it’s easy to forget that he rose to prominence with the Grizzlies. Prior to his days in Chicago and Los Angeles, Gasol spent five years in Memphis where he averaged 18.8 points, 8.6 rebounds, and 1.8 blocks per game.

The elder Gasol ranks fourth in points, third in rebounds, and has the highest player efficiency ranking in franchise history. He also played a major part in shaping the team into a legitimate playoff contender.

4. Marc Gasol

Position: Center
Accolades: 3x NBA All-Star, 2x All-NBA, Defensive Player of the Year, NBA champion
Years Active: 2008-present

Like so many of his "Grit and Grind" teammates, Marc Gasol took great pride in his defensive effort. The younger Gasol was the 2013 Defensive Player of the Year, and is one of the first names that comes to mind when thinking of this franchise.

For his career, Gasol has averaged 14.2 points, 7.5 rebounds, and 3.4 assists per game. He averaged slightly higher than that during his 11 memorable years in Memphis, where he played in 769 games and logged the most minutes of any player to date. He is also second in points, first in rebounds, and first in field goals.

3. Ja Morant

Position: Point guard
Accolades: Rookie of the Year
Years Active: 2020-present

Is this slightly outside the spirit of the list? Possibly, but given more time, probably not. Morant was the 2021 NBA Rookie of the Year, and is the undisputed star of the new-age Grizzlies.

The Murray State product has averaged 18.3 points, 3.7 rebounds, and 7.4 assists per game in his career thus far, and his lofty usage rate suggests he is going to quickly climb the franchise leaderboards.

Morant announced his presence in the league with flair, becoming the first player since Michael Jordan to average at least 20 points and five assists on 50% shooting through his first seven career games. The 21-year-old has a long way to go before eclipsing MJ, but his future is extremely bright.

2. Zach Randolph

Position: Power forward
Accolades: 2x NBA All-Star, 1x All-NBA
Years Active: 2002-2018

If you’re a devoted Memphis Grizzlies fan, Zach Randolph likely tops your list. After beginning his career with Portland, Randolph bounced around the league before settling into Memphis as a grizzled 28-year-old.

Randolph was a double-double machine, who averaged 16.8 points and 10.2 rebounds during his eight seasons with the Beale Street Bears. Although not frequent recipient of league accolades, nobody in the league wanted to spend their night battling with Randolph in the paint.

1. Mike Conley

Position: Point guard
Accolades: 1x NBA All-Star, 1x NBA All-Defensive Team, 3x NBA Sportsmanship Award
Years Active: 2008-present

In a bit of irony, Mike Conley didn’t get chosen for an NBA All-Star game until he departed Memphis, but "Money Mike" was a consistent and reliable starter for over a decade for the Grizzlies.

He averaged 14.9 points and 5.7 assists over 788 games with the franchise, and ranks first in three-point field goals, assists, steals, and points. The Grizzlies have spent nearly two decades being one of the better defensive teams in the leagues, and Conley played a major role in that.

A three-time recipient of NBA Sportsmanship Award, Conley is a true ambassador of the game, and deserves recognition as the greatest player in Memphis Grizzlies history.