The 2006-07 season got off on the wrong foot- Pau Gasol’s left foot, to be exact. The team’s best player suffered a fracture of the fifth metatarsal in his left foot during the 2006 World Championships, sidelining him for the first 22 games of the NBA season.
Without Gasol, the Grizzlies started the season 5-17, effectively ending their chances at challenging for a playoff berth before the calendar even turned to 2007. The Grizzlies’ struggles ultimately led to a coaching change, as Mike Fratello was replaced after a 6-24 start by Tony Barone, Sr., who guided Memphis to a 16-36 record over the rest of the season.
Although the Grizzlies finished the season with a league-worst record of 22-60, there were individual bright spots. After returning from injury, Gasol put up career-high numbers almost across the board. Mike Miller set a franchise record with 202 three-pointers. After a slow start, Rudy Gay came on strong late in the season and was in the mix for the NBA’s Rookie of the Year Award. Young players like Hakim Warrick, Tarence Kinsey and Kyle Lowry gave fans hope for a bright future.
After the season ended, the Grizzlies hired highly-regarded Suns assistant coach Marc Iavaroni as the team’s new head coach, generating optimism for the 2007-08 season.