Most of you will remember the Memphis Grizzlies' 12-2 start from the 2012-13 NBA season. There were signature wins that propelled Memphis into an early spotlight, mostly due to the Grizzlies' beatdown of the Miami Heat on the "Wayne Ellington Night". They were sexy, steaming, and contending.
Much like the Grizzlies' current 12-2 start, the early success had Memphis in the conversations of title contention. And there are numerous other similarities besides the record, check this:
|12-2 Records||PPG||3-point %||Playoff wins*|
*wins over teams that made the playoffs the previous season
There are many similarities, including the bizarre fact that the Griz scored exactly 92 points in all four of the losses, but there are a few key differences that catch my attention.
- The 2012 team's leading scorer was Rudy Gay, scoring 18.7 PPG on 42% shooting.
- The 2014 team's leading scorer is Marc Gasol, scoring 19.9 PPG on 50% shooting.
- 2012 Tony Allen was shooting 38% from the field. All those jumpers...
- 2014 Tony Allen is shooting 46% from the field and playing a more suitable role on offense.
- In 2012, the Grizzlies were running Jerryd Bayless as their backup PG. Bayless played well, shooting 49% and averaging 3.1 APG. However, this would become a problem because Jerryd Bayless is/was not actually a PG. The Grizzlies would eventually have to turn to Keyon Dooling or Tony Wroten.
- In 2014, the Grizzlies have Beno Udrih, a real PG, running backup to Mike Conley. Beno's been shooting very efficiently, 52%, and that includes providing a deadly mid-range game. In addition to Beno likely getting better with the 2nd unit as the season develops, the Grizzlies also have Nick Calathes, another true PG, in the rotation going forward.
Although this isn't scientifically based -- a lot of it's eye-test -- my point is that I feel as though the current 2014 12-2 success looks to be a more natural result than the 2012 version.
The current chemistry among the Grizzlies has been massaged by Robert Pera's management of what Chris Wallace had constructed two years ago.
While thinner at the PF position, this rendition of the Griz has truly legitimate options at backup point guard and center, and those just so happen to be the positions of the two most important players to this team.
Dave Joerger, going into his 2nd season as head coach, is very in tune with his team and is displaying what could possibly be a better knack for X's & O's than the head coach of Memphis in 2012.
And one of the biggest elements removed from the 2014 Grizzlies is that, as far as I'm aware, there is no pending salary cap dilemma. While the FO will surely play the market all the way up to the trade deadline, there isn't a looming presence of a highly overpaid player who doesn't seem to fit in with the scheme. The biggest fiscal eyesore on the roster is Tayshaun, and we know the value he brings to the locker room.
That hot start for the 2012 Grizzlies quickly faded once the month of December came around. They would go on to lost 4 of their next 6 games and ended up playing .500 ball for the month. Memphis now faces a similar threat with this season's sprint as they line up for multiple games against the top end of the NBA, but it's beginning to look less and less like 12-2 is a fluke for the 2014-15 Memphis Grizzlies.
We'll know soon enough; the Grizzlies are on deck for a 4-game road trip and they cap it off with a return home for the Spurs.
What do you all think? What are some other interesting comparisons between the '12 and '14 Grizzlies?