Memphis Grizzlies preview: Is this the year?

USA TODAY Sports

OJ Mayo's old team comes into town on Satuday with visions of a deep playoff run and trade rumors hanging over their head.

Matt Moore is an NBA analyst for CBS Sports and managing editor of Hardwood Paroxysm who doubles as a die-hard Grizzlies fan. Follow him on Twitter at HPbasketball for his numerous rants about the NBA and all that it implies

Memphis seems to have come back to Earth after a 13-3 start. What happened?

Same thing that happens to most teams after a hot start? Other teams adjusted and some guys went through a slump? The offense is not magically fixed as we'd hoped, but it will show up every now and again, which is a nice surprise. They're still dangerous.

Tonight's game will be the Grizzlies fifth in seven days, including a dramatic OT win against the Spurs last night. Do you expect Lionel Hollins to go deeper into his rotation than normal?

Trying to predict how Hollins will react in these situations is absurd. It's like that Frasier episode where they decide to just make up their route instead of following directions. The man drives by feel.

Are there still bad feeling between OJ Mayo and the Grizzlies organization? How surprised are you by his play this season?

These things are never black and white. It comes down to this. They drafted him, he was awesome, the team sucked, they fired their coach, they brought in a new guy, he and Mayo didn't click. That simple. I'm not surprised at all. I love that he's living up to his potential. He's a hardworking guy who can shoot the sun from the western sky. Deserved his chance as the tip of the spear and he got it.

Do the Grizzlies have a realistic chance of winning the West or do they need a trade to get themselves in that conversation?

They can do it, they just need more help than other teams. They have to hit the right matchups in the right order, with the right momentum, and everyone has to do a certain set of things. They're there, but it's unlikely. I'm pretty happy with "BUT YOU'RE SAYING THERE'S A CHANCE"ville, though.

Will Rudy Gay be in Memphis the day after the trade deadline? Should he?

I don't think he will be. The new ownership group just paid $377 million for a franchise worth $300 million and they know they can't ditch ZBo or Marc. Something's gotta give and the fans have turned on him like he just went heel. Everyone needs a change and Pera and Co. need the extra change.

I can't go without asking you to troll Mavs fans. There's certainly no shortage of material this season.

Oh, I'm sorry, is signing Chris Kaman off the back of the corpse cart not working out for you? Discount Brand not giving you that 1-2 punch you expected? Don't worry, this is the year Roddy Beaubois puts it together. No, seriously.

Actually, I feel bad for Mavs fans. I LOVE that arena, that fanbase, that owner, and the big German dude. I'm an OJ Mayo guy and I'm on #TeamCollison despite no one else being on it and Rick Carlisle being on #TeamWaterboardDarrenCollisonInHisOwnTears. It sucks that they haven't put it together and I hope that Cuban doesn't stick to his guns too long and waste the precious remainder of Dirk's wonderful career. I'm pulling for the MFFL.

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