So, admittedly, this is a small sample size - 8 games. Already we have some outliers with Q's shooting slump and broken nose, and Bayless's missed games. But just looking at the numbers, what's holding this team back? Here are some per-48 comparisons for most key Grizzlies:
The truth is, this doesn't give us a lot of new information. We're turning the ball over too much - especially Z-Bo, TA, Q and Koufos. We're not rebounding as well, and that goes for all our big men - Ed, Zach, Marc, and Koufos. Koufos is down 5.3 rebounds per 48, and Zach is at his lowest level since becoming a Grizzly. TA and Tayshaun's numbers have decreased significantly as well. With Marc, his rebounding is down, but more concerning to me are the drop in assists and the defensive numbers. Those are the things that make him special as an NBA player and we need to see more of that.
The truth is the offensive output from these guys is no worse than it was last year - in the case of Marc, Mike M and especially Mike C, it's better. Q and Bayless are down, but scoring fluctuates with outside shooters and there's no reason to believe they won't recover. The big problem is that from a defense-and possessions team, we're giving away too many possessions and not playing very good defense. That's a recipe for a 3-5 start.
This is not an indictment of these players nor do I see this as a clarion call for immediate change. What I do see is this: If we reduce turnovers, hit the boards harder, and play the defense we're used to seeing, this thing can get turned around. The turnovers are on everybody (except Conley and Gasol, really), defense starts with Marc, and the rebounding starts with our bigs. We need them to be our strength again.
As my guy Mulli has been pointing out, it's too early to panic and these are correctable things. Here's hoping we see correction starting tonight...