Mike Conley’s Legacy As a Memphis Grizzly Will Last Forever
Being a top tier point guard in the NBA comes with a lot of pressure. Making sure that guys are where they need to be, leading the offense through an opposing team’s 9-0 run, and for Mike Conley it also involved continuing to put the team first in yet another year where he was on the trading block.
“People forget that Mike (Conley) was on the trading block his first four seasons in the NBA, so this isn’t anything new to him,” Fox Sports Southeast color analyst Brevin Knight said while discussing Conley’s wild comeback season with OTG. Conley and former Grizzlies center Marc Gasol were front runners when the trade deadline hit as the two biggest names on Memphis’ roster and in the franchise’s history.
When the dust settled following a hectic NBA trade deadline, Conley remained in Memphis. “I think it forced Mike (Conley) to focus in on his own game, and was a slap in the face that this is a business,” Knight added about the situation that Conley was put in before and after the deadline.
Leaving Conley on the roster to finish out the 2018-19 season is giving him the chance to showcase his talents without a member of the core four. We remember former Grizzly Zach Randolph for his bully ball mentality, Tony Allen for being the heart of Grit N’ Grind, and Gasol as the most decorated of the four, but what will be Conley’s Grizzly legacy?
Brevin Knight knows how Conley should be remembered. “Mike is the orchestrator of it all. If you go and watch a symphony, everyone is playing in tune.. Mike (Conley) has been the head of the symphony for these teams, and this organization.”
It was announced on Monday that Conley was a finalist for the NBA Sportsmanship Award, which he’s won two times (2014-16) in his career. “Mike (Conley) is a lot more vocal than people will give him credit for… He’s authentic,” Knight said about Conley when discussing his nomination for the Sportsmanship award. “No matter the situation or the circumstances, you will always get the true Mike Conley.”
If Conley’s Grizzlies career ended this season, he would lead the franchise in points, assists, and three-point makes. Something that LeBron James (Cleveland Cavaliers), and Reggie Miller (Indiana Pacers) are the only other two guys to do with their respective franchises. Conley has had a career year in points, and one great bounce back season from last year’s injury riddled campaign.
Conley has been a consistent, consummate professional on and off the court. Orchestrating Grizzlies basketball to new heights in his 11 seasons. While this season is another one down, his progression each season as a leader, veteran, and floor general under all circumstances is a win for Grizzlies basketball.