NBA Memphis Grizzlies' Pau Gasol (R) vies with Unicaja's B. Ndong during their Basketball match at Martin Carpena Stadium in Malaga, southern Spain, 09 October 2007. AFP PHOTO / JOSE LUIS ROCA (Photo credit should read JOSE LUIS ROCA/AFP/Getty Images)

The Memphis Grizzlies are still a young franchise. After coming into existence in the 1995-96 season, they spent their first six years in Vancouver. They saw very little success while in Canada. Shortly after moving to Memphis, they enjoyed three straight playoff seasons from 2003-04 thru 2005-06. Memphis endured a four-year playoff drought before beginning a nice run from 2010-11 thru 2016-17. They made the playoffs each of those seasons, advancing to the Western Conference Finals once. They enjoyed three straight 50 win seasons during that time. The bulk of the great players in franchise history have come within that stretch of time. Let’s take a look at the top five players in Memphis Grizzlies history.

5) Tony Allen

Tony Allen is not on here because of what he brought to the table offensively. He is on this list of the top five players in Memphis Grizzlies history for two reasons. First, because of his amazing defense and secondly because of his leadership. Consider this. He played in Memphis for a total of seven seasons. During six of those seven years, he was named to the NBA All-Defensive Team, three of which placing on the first team.

Accolades with the Grizzlies: Six-time NBA All-Defensive Team

Stats in a Grizzlies uniform: 8.9 points per game, 4.3 rebounds per game, 1.4 assists per game, 1.7 steals per game, 0.5 blocks per game. 47% from the field, 70% from the free throw line

Franchise Ranks: 6th in games played, 2nd in steals, 9th in blocks, 9th in FG %, 2nd in steals per game, 2nd in defensive rating, 4th in defensive win shares, 9th in total win shares, 6th in box plus/minus, 2nd in defensive box plus/minus, 7th in value over replacement

4) Zach Randolph

Zach Randolph played with the Grizzlies for eight seasons, playing in 551 games. He came to the team at 28 years old, basically in the middle of his prime. He was a double-double machine for much of his tenure in Memphis. The grind mentality that the Grizzlies were known for was in large part due to Randolph’s relentless style of play. He is easily one of the top five players in Memphis Grizzlies history.

Accolades with the Grizzlies: Two-time All-Star, 2010-11 3rd team All-NBA, four-time player of the week, January 2011 player of the month

Stats in a Grizzlies uniform: 16.8 points per game, 10.2 rebounds per game, 2 assists per game, 0.8 steals per game, 0.3 blocks per game. 47% from the field, 76% from the free throw line

Franchise Ranks: 3rd in games played, 1st in rebounds, 7th in assists, 6th in steals, 3rd in points, 7th in FG %, 4th in points per game, 1st in rebounds per game, 3rd in player efficiency rating, 4th in offensive win shares, 3rd in defensive win shares, 4th in total win shares, 4th in win shares per 48 minutes, 6th in value over replacement

3) Pau Gasol

Most people tend to associate Pau Gasol with the Lakers. After all, he won two NBA titles and received most of his recognition in LA. However, Gasol spent his first seven years in Memphis, where he established himself as one of the best in the league. He was a proficient scorer in Memphis. In addition to that, he was an excellent rebounder, wonderful passer as well as a solid shot blocker. Based on what he was able to accomplish, he is a good fit at three among the top five players in Memphis Grizzlies history list.

Accolades with the Grizzlies: Rookie of the Year, one-time All-Star

Stats in a Grizzlies uniform: 18.8 points per game, 8.6 rebounds per game, 3.1 assists per game, 0.5 steals per game, 1.8 blocks per game. 51% from the field, 73% from the free throw line

Franchise Ranks: 5th in games played, 3rd in rebounds, 5th in assists, 2nd in blocks, 4th in points, 1st in FG %, 2nd in points per game, 2nd in rebounds per game, 1st in blocks per game, 1st in player efficiency rating, 5th in true shooting %, 5th in effective FG %, 8th in offensive rating, 3rd in offensive win shares, 5th in defensive win shares, 3rd in total win shares, 2nd in win shares per 48 minutes, 2nd in box plus/minus, 8th in offensive box plus/minus, 6th in defensive box plus/minus, 3rd in value over replacement

2) Mike Conley

Mike Conley is both the longest tenured and by far the best point guard to wear a Grizzlies uniform. Unfortunately, injuries have taken a toll on him recently. During his 11 years in Memphis, he has not only improved as a scorer but has been a quality passer as well as a top-notch defender. Additionally, he has improved his game during the playoffs. In fact, his playoff scoring average increases by over two points per game. Conley makes perfect sense at number two on the top five players in Memphis Grizzlies history list.

Accolades with the Grizzlies: One time NBA All-Defensive Team

Stats in a Grizzlies uniform: 14.3 points per game, 2.9 rebounds per game, 5.7 assists per game, 1.5 steals per game. 44% from the field, 38% from three, 81% from the free throw line

Franchise Ranks: 1st in games played, 1st in made three-pointers, 9th in rebounds, 1st in assists, 1st in steals, 2nd in points, 10th in three-point FG %, 9th in points per game, 4th in assists per game, 3rd in steals per game, 6th in player efficiency rating, 8th in effective FG %, 6th in offensive rating, 1st in offensive win shares, 2nd in defensive win shares, 2nd in total win shares, 5th in win shares per 48 minutes, 7th in box plus/minus, 3rd in offensive box plus/minus, 2nd in value over replacement

1) Marc Gasol

Marc Gasol is the most decorated as well as the best all-around player in Grizzlies history. That is why it makes perfect sense to place him at number one on the top five players in Memphis Grizzlies history list. During his ten years, Gasol has proven that he can score, rebound, pass well and play elite defense. He leads or is at least near the top in almost every statistical category in team history. Lastly, the Grizzlies most definitely would not have enjoyed the overall success they have without Marc Gasol.

Accolades with the Grizzlies: Three-time All-Star, two-time All NBA, one time NBA All-Defensive Team, 2012-13 Defensive Player of the Year

Stats in a Grizzlies uniform: 15.2 points per game, 7.7 rebounds per game, 3.3 assists per game, 0.9 steals per game, 1.5 blocks per game. 49% from the field, 34% from three, 78% from the free throw line

Franchise Ranks: 2nd in games played, 8th in made three-pointers, 2nd in rebounds, 2nd in assists, 3rd in steals, 1st in blocks, 1st in points, 4th in FG %, 7th in points per game, 4th in rebounds per game, 2nd in blocks per game, 4th in player efficiency rating, 10th in true shooting %, 7th in effective FG %, 7th in offensive rating, 2nd in offensive win shares, 1st in defensive win shares, 1st in total win shares, 3rd in win shares per 48 minutes, 1st in box plus/minus, 1st in defensive box plus/minus, 1st in value over replacement

Last Word

There you have it. These are the top five players in Memphis Grizzlies history. What do you think?

Others considered: Mike Miller, Shane Battier, Rudy Gay, Shareef Abdur-Rahim

Stats acquired at https://www.basketball-reference.com/

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