This story is part of ESPN The Magazine's Oct. 31 NBA Preview Issue. Subscribe today!
Title track: 86
Fan relations: 25
Stadium experience: 30
Bang for the buck: 5
Change from last year: -12
Let Memphis-born legend Ric Flair sum up this past season for Grizz fans: "WOOOOO!!!" Despite a deluge of trades and injuries, Memphis, against all odds, still managed to snag their sixth straight playoff appearance. That same charmed existence continued in our standings. The Grizzlies once again stayed close to the top by tag-teaming an affordable product with a roster that just refuses to quit.
The cost of seeing the Grizzlies play has Memphis residents singing anything but the blues. Thanks to tickets almost $25 below the NBA average, only two other teams can promise a more cut-rate gameday experience. In the Western Conference, only the Pelicans doled out cheaper stubs ... and they finished 22 games below .500. This season is promising to be just as consumer friendly. Single-game tickets are available for as low as $9 a game (the average ticket is just $31), so with Beale Street and some of the nation's best BBQ mere steps away, the Grizz front office leaves fans with plenty of money to savor a smoked plate of ribs after the game.
The Grizz brought the idea of "Grit 'n' Grind" to the modern game, but last season injuries forced the Grizzlies to take that ethos to its logical extreme. Arguably no team in NBA history had ever been more snakebit by injuries. Over the course of the past season, the Grizz were forced to hand out jerseys to an NBA-record 28 players. Perhaps that helps explain why fans gave them just an 86th-overall ranking in title track: It's hard to hope for a title when you're flying in a plane full of emergency supplies from the D-League for conference games against the Warriors, Spurs and Thunder. Just check out the DNPs in their March 7 106-103 victory over the NBA champ Cavs: Marc Gasol, Zach Randolph, Mike Conley, Matt Barnes and Chris Andersen. Tony Allen had to go out and score the most points he had in five years -- 26 -- to get the "W."
Dave Joerger is out, and his time as head coach was a mixed bag. There's his .598 winning percentage, three playoff appearances and the remarkable triage job he pulled off with this unit. But then there was also the squabbling with the front office, his requests (twice in three years) for permission to interview for other gigs while under contract, and public critical comments about the Grizzlies' roster. Fans reacted by dropping the team's coaching ranking by 29 spots (to 81st), and that leaves new head coach David Fizdale, a two-time champion as an assistant with Miami, with some work to do.