The highest paid player in the league, Mike Conley, is having the best season of his career.
In the 2007 NBA draft, Conley was drafted 4th overall in by the Memphis Grizzlies, and he shot out the gate running. In 46 starts out of 53 games played, Conley averaged 9.4 points and 4.2 assists, pretty good for a rookie point guard. Since 2007 Conley has lead his team to the playoffs multiple times, and made it to the Western Conference Finals in 2013, which is the farthest the franchise has ever been.
Mike Conley is arguably one of the best Grizzlies of all time. Well, honestly at this point you can’t even argue it. In terms of all-times for the franchise, here’s where Conley stands among stats dating back to 1995:
Prior the start of the season it was unclear whether Conley, a restricted free agent, would stay with the team or sign elsewhere. Considered as the best point guard on the free agent market, he signed the biggest contract in NBA history. Conley and the Memphis Grizzlies agreed to a 5-year/$153 million dollar contract, signing him through 2021. On his contract and the pressure, Conley had this to say:
“It’s amazing the opportunity I’ve been given. As far as the pressure, it’s hard to really gauge that because I put pressure on myself to perform regardless.”
The nine-year veteran point guard also promised to get aggressive and play better than his prior two season. Now, 59 games into the season, he has undoubtedly kept that promise. The Memphis Grizzlies currently sit as the 7th seed in the playoffs, with a 40-31 record. It’s not the best that they’ve been, but after the injury pile up on Chandler Parsons, who they expected to be a big contributor, it’s not bad at all.
After signing such an immense contract, the 28-year old point guard has showed up and performed. This season, he’s averaging: 20 points, 6.3 assists, and 1.4 steals per game on 45% shooting from the field. His twenty points and shooting percentage are both career-highs, and he’s shooting his best from three in nearly seven years (.403).
The Grizzlies are not likely to make a big move in the playoffs, as they will likely be paired up with San Antonio or Golden State. They are a great defensive team with a great point guard, but need some more fire power to compete. With another free agent signing and some core player pickups for the bench, the Grizzlies can be lead back to contention by Captain Clutch himself.
All stats and information provided by ESPN and Basketball Reference. Featured image provided by Sporting News.