Since their rivalry with the Cleveland Cavaliers ended, the Golden State Warriors still haven't found an opponent they can call rivals. But recently, it seems like the Memphis Grizzlies are taking the challenge after the two protagonists have featured in battles on and off the court. Warriors coach Steve Kerr finally acknowledged that a rivalry is brewing between them.
"Memphis is on the rise," Kerr said after a recent team practice. "They've got a great young team. Obviously, we had a hell of a series with them last year. There's been some healthy bickering and a little bit of a rivalry, so it's fun when we play them."
The teams have featured in competitive bouts in the past couple of seasons.
If there's a rivalry, it probably began in the 2020-21 season when they met on the last day of the play-in tournament. A lower-seeded Memphis team took care of business on the road, coming out on top by five points to prevent Golden State from reaching the playoffs.
Last season, the Warriors got the opportunity to avenge their loss in the previous campaign when the two squads met in the Western Conference semifinals. Kerr and his crew defeated Memphis on their way to the 2022 NBA title. Among all their opponents, the Grizzlies apparently provided them with the most challenge.
The league finally acknowledged in the past offseason that a Warriors-Grizzlies matchup would make for good entertainment. As such, they were slated to meet on Christmas Day this season, which Golden State won 123-109. Interestingly, Warriors stars Draymond Green and Klay Thompson made sure to rub the victory in, which ran contrary to Kerr's assertion of the players' "healthy bickering."
However, while Kerr has acknowledged the possibility of a rivalry between the franchises, Green thinks otherwise, saying that while he loves squaring up against the young squad, it still "hasn't accomplished enough yet."
On Wednesday, the teams will meet again for another highly anticipated matchup. Some fans are likely waiting for what Ja Morant, Dillon Brooks, and the rest of the Grizz have in store for the old guard. Maybe Kerr's and Green's statements can serve as additional motivation for Memphis.