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Grizzlies set record by using 28th (!) player this season

Grizzlies Injuries Basketball

Members of the Memphis Grizzlies watch from the bench in the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Cleveland Cavaliers, Monday, March 7, 2016, in Cleveland. The Memphis Grizzlies are down to just one healthy starter against the Cavaliers. The team will be missing four starters, point guard Mike Conley, center Chris Andersen and forwards Zach Randolph and Matt Barnes, Monday night when they take on LeBron James and the Eastern Conference’s top team. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)

AP

With trades, waiver claims and in-season signings, the 76ers and Timberwolves each used 25 players last season.

That seemed extreme.

But this year’s Grizzlies put those marks to shame.

Memphis has used a whopping 28 (!) players this season, a single-season NBA record (hat tip: ESPN). Playing Bryce Cotton in a loss to the Magic yesterday broke a tie with the 1996-97 Mavericks.

The 2015-16 Grizzlies:


  • Matt Barnes
  • Zach Randolph
  • Marc Gasol
  • Mike Conley
  • Tony Allen
  • Jeff Green
  • Courtney Lee
  • JaMychal Green
  • Mario Chalmers
  • Vince Carter
  • Lance Stephenson
  • Ryan Hollins
  • P.J. Hairston
  • Jarell Martin
  • Chris Andersen
  • Ray McCallum
  • Brandan Wright
  • Jordan Farmar
  • Briante Weber
  • Xavier Munford
  • Beno Udrih
  • Russ Smith
  • Alex Stepheson
  • Elliot Williams
  • James Ennis
  • Jordan Adams
  • Jarnell Stokes
  • Bryce Cotton

The 1948-49 Indianapolis Jets are the only other team to use 25 players in a season.

But the Grizzlies differ from those other teams, because they could reach the postseason. Memphis (41-36) is three games inside playoff position.

No team that has used more than 23 players in a season has ever made the playoffs.

That could cause complications for the Grizzlies, who have 20 players under contract thanks to multiple hardship waivers. The typical regular-season roster limit is 15.

Chris Herrington of The Commercial Appeal:

The Grizzlies are apparently exploring being able to carry injury exemptions into the playoffs. But barring that -- and it seems unlikely -- they’ve got a couple of decisions to make

I’m not as convinced Memphis’ hardship request for the playoffs will be denied. The NBA constitution does not specify separate hardship procedures for the regular season or playoffs, so it stands to reason the same rules apply for the postseason.

But, if not, the Grizzlies will have to start waiving players. They’re not dropping an injured Gasol or Conley just to keep a expendable player for the postseason.

This playoff run could get even more difficult.