The Memphis Grizzlies are a relatively new team who have seen some success in the NBA. Starting in Vancouver, the Grizzlies then moved to Memphis, where they remain today. Today we’ll be counting down the Top 10 players from the Memphis/Vancouver Grizzlies of all time.
10. Shane Battier
You won’t be blown away by Shane Battier’s stats. Battier embodies the idea that sometimes the impact players have doesn’t make it onto the stat sheet. Any Grizzlies fan who’s watched Battier can back up that while he isn’t one of Memphis’ great players, he deserves a spot on the list of the 10 greatest. Battier set screens, ran high IQ plays, rolled and popped off the screens, and did have a statistically impressive rookie year. Battier’s best year was his first year in Memphis, when he averaged 14 points per game to go along with 1.6 steals and 1.0 blocks per game. Battier made his presence known while he was on the floor, and embodied the early stages of the grint and grind Memphis era.
Despite playing just three seasons with the Vancouver Grizzlies, Mike Bibby left a mark of the franchise that remains on the backs of every Grizzlies throwback jersey today. Bibby started his career in Vancouver by making the all rookie first team in the 1998-1999 season. Bibby’s peak in Vancouver came in his third season where he averaged 16 points per game to go along with 8 assists, making him one of the better passers in the NBA, and one of the better young point guards in the league. Bibby would later have his best days in Sacramento, but is considered one of the “founding fathers” of the Grizzlies organization, and is one of the faces of the Grizzlies’ time in Vancouver.
8. Mike Miller
Miller spent 7 seasons with the Memphis Grizzlies, which is extremely underrated considering the difficulty the Grizzlies have had in keeping and acquiring free agents. Miller notably won the sixth man of the year award in 2006, and would eventually earn himself a starting spot on the Grizzlies. In his best year, Miller averaged 18 points per game, and was a lethal shooter from deep for Memphis. Miller’s time in Memphis is sometimes overshadowed due to his championship in Miami, but make no mistake, Mike Miller was much better on the Grizzlies than he was on the Heat.
7. Shareef Abdur-Rahim
Abdur-Rahim often slips the mind of Grizzlies fans when reflecting on their time in Vancouver. Rahim played 5 seasons with the Vancouver Grizzlies, and in his peak averaged 23 points per game, along with 10 rebounds per game. Abdur-Rahim never earned an all star nomination in Vancouver, but he was certainly snubbed on multiple occasions. Abdur-Rahim was an all-rookie first team member in his first season, and would go on to average over 20 points per game in his next 4. Only when Abdur-Rahim left the Grizzlies was he an all star, but he will nonetheless go down as the greatest Vancouver Grizzlies player of all time.
6. Tony Allen
Tony Allen was the grit in the Memphis grit and grind era. Allen was a three time member of the NBA first team all defense squad while with Memphis, and 6 times in his career. Allen was a nightmare to match up against, and embraced his role as a pure defender. Tony Allen never averaged more than 10 points per game with the Grizzlies, but also averaged 1.7 steals per game through all 7 of his seasons with the Grizzlies. Allen embodied the Grizzlies brand of basketball, and will be remembered for years to come.
5. Rudy Gay
There was a time when Rudy Gay was considered one of the most feared scorers in the NBA. This happened to be during Gay’s time in Memphis. Gay was a generational scorer, and despite never being an all star, was guarded and matched up like one. Gay hit dozens of game winners for the Grizzlies, and everyone knew what he brought to the court, pure scoring. Gay also stepped up his defense to fit the grit and grind movement in Memphis, and averaged 1.3 steals per game with the Grizzlies. This makes him one of the most well rounded players in Grizzlies history, there’s nothing he can’t do.
4. Pau Gasol
Despite being more famous for his time in Los Angeles, Pau Gasol is actually a long time Memphis Grizzlies player. Gasol, who is famous for his duo with Kobe Bryant, spent 6 and a half seasons in Memphis, where he was a one time all star, and earned rookie of the year. Gasol’s best season saw him average 20 points, 10 rebounds and 2 blocks a game on 54% field goal percentage. Gasol was a shining light in a dark time for Memphis, as the slowly worked towards the grit and grind era. Gasol is also one of three Grizzlies all time to be an all star.
3. Zach Randolph
The Grindfather himself, Zach Randolph is a Memphis icon. Although he would only spend the later years of his career in Memphis, Randolph’s 8 seasons marked the beginning and end of the Grit and Grind movement. Randolph’s best season saw him average 20 points, 12 rebounds and one block per game. This phenomenal season for Randolph earned him one of his total two all star appearances with the Grizzlies. Although Randolph slowly fell off towards the end of his time in Memphis, he never averaged below 14 points per game, and was one of the most respected veterans in the league.
2. Mike Conley
Mike Conley’s 11 seasons with the Grizzlies makes him one of the most longest tenured active NBA players with one team. Conley was drafted to Memphis as a 20 year old, and has seen every single era in Memphis, from Pau Gasol, to Marc Gasol, to Jaren Jackson Jr. Conley is an iconic player in Memphis, and holds the all time record for scoring in Grizzlies history. This record will likely stand for a long, long time. Conley also leads the franchise in career assists, and steals. His gritty, selfless play style has earned him a spot in the hearts of not only Grizzlies fans, but all NBA fans alike.
1. Marc Gasol
Marc Gasol made Memphis into what it was in the grit and grind era. Even though he wasn’t the grit, or the grind, he was the star. Earning himself three all star appearances, there’s not too much debate that Marc Gasol is the most decorated, and greatest player the Memphis Grizzlies have ever had on their roster. Gasol’s best season was the 2016-2017 season, when he led Memphis to the playoffs with a 19.5 points and 63 rebounds per game average. Gasol was clutch, and was a leader for the Grizzlies alongside Mike Conley. His all star appearances are what separates him, from anyone else in franchise history.