As we watch the new rise of the Memphis Grizzlies I find myself scanning the stat sheets for explanations, anomalies and patterns. The obvious explanations to the Grizzlies Renaissance are the return of Marc Gasol, the elite play of Mike Conley and strong roster additions on the perimeter.
While the effects of those players can be quantifiable, I'm looking for other little abstractions that represent the team as a whole and have fewer arguable points. That led my eyes to one of the more conspicuous statistics on the NBA standings spreadsheet - road winning percentage:
- San Antonio Spurs - .761 (16-5)
- Oklahoma City Thunder - .708 (17-7)
- Portland Trail Blaziers - .652 (15-8)
- Indiana Pacers - .636 (14-8)
- Memphis Grizzlies - .631 (12-7)
- Miami Heat - .590 (13-9)
- Golden State Warriors - .560 (14-11)
- Houston Rockets - .545 (12-10)
Not too shabby for a team that's technically out of the playoffs. That .631 is actually shades better than the .585 that the 56-win Grizzlies put up last year. Now, the problem comes when you see their .480 winning percentage at home in the dreaded Grindhouse. If Memphis wants to pry themselves into a decent playoff seeding the home wins are going to have to start accumulating quickly, as the Grizzlies have 16 remaining home games compared to 22 road games left on the schedule.
If you apply the respective Grizzlies' winning percentages to the remaining schedule the math says we come out with another 21 wins out the possible 38 games, which would put the Grizzlies at 45-37 record. And wouldn't you know, that 45-37 record is what the 7th and 8th seeds finished with in the 2012-13 season.
Memphis can't rely on my basic and flawed mathemathics, however. The road wins are going to start becoming harder to pull off as fatigue sets in, and the month of March is no joke as the Grizzlies stare down (4) back-to-backs including (2) that are of the pure-road varietal.
I love the headiness and diligence the Grizzlies are showing on the road this season. It speaks volumes to what this team could be, but if Memphis wants to reach the promised land then they'll need to shore up the home performances immediately. That's not unfathomable, obviously, and especially when you look at the Grizzlies next (7) home games - Milwaukee, Dallas, Washington, NY, Clippers, Lakers, Cavaliers and the Bobcats.
Time to Grind.
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