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Dave Joerger goes transparent on his plans for the Grizzlies' final stretch and more

Head Coach Dave Joerger was on the 92.9 ESPN Memphis show of past GBBLive guest Chris Vernon this morning. He had plenty of interesting things to say.

Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

The head coach of the Memphis Grizzlies, Dave Joerger, was on "The Chris Vernon Show" this morning with friends of GBBLive, Chris Vernon and Jon Roser. Joerger has forgotten more about basketball than most of us will ever know, and he is developing the reputation of being a pretty straight shooter when it comes to these kinds of interviews. This allows for a small view into the operations and thought processes of the man most responsible for the day-to-day structure of the team currently seated as the 2 seed in the Western Conference and the Southwest division leaders.

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Our Managing Editor, Chris Faulkner, did a great job transcribing a good bit of the interview on Twitter. Let's take a look at some of the highlights.

Yeah, I would say this is accurate. Memphis won two tough games in two nights as they beat Portland and the LA Clippers on the West Coast. Beating those teams ended a 12-2 month run for the Grizzlies, dating back to January 21st, probably the last time all fans were in agreement that, yeah, these Grizzlies could win the NBA title. The team's numbers looked better during this stretch-

Points Per Game Offensive Efficiency Defensive Efficiency Net Rating
98.6 102.2 93.4 8.8

Then, February 25th through March 30th happened: A 10-10 record, as mediocre as they come, and the same numbers that looked so good the month before fell off a good bit. READER ADVISORY- THE FOLLOWING MAY NOT BE SUITABLE FOR ALL GRIZZLIES' FANS WITH WEAK STOMACHS.

Points Per Game Offensive Efficiency Defensive Efficiency Net Rating
93.7 99.4 100.8 -1.4

A 4.9 point per game/-10.2 Net Rating difference. Exhaustion, injury, uncertainty, cockiness, and a tough schedule all likely played a part in their fall from grace.

Anyone who is familiar with my work on this site, either as a writer or as host of our podcast "GBBLive" (Thursday nights at 6:30 PM CT) likely knows this is my opinion right on the nose on the whole Jeff Green "situation". Green's physical ability and attributes are simply better than Tony Allen's, through no fault of TA's. Allen's exploits have been talked about and praised by myself and others, including Kevin Lipe and Chris Herrington, two of the most trusted Grizzlies voices there are. But Tony has to exert so much energy and effort just to compensate for his lack of physical stature that it makes sense that the 6'9" explosive athlete that is Jeff Green would extend Memphis' ceiling.

In theory.

Of course, Allen understands scheme, and the five years he has spent as a Grizzly alongside Zach Randolph, Mike Conley, and Marc Gasol equate to a strong chemistry between them. Jeff Green has been in Memphis less than three months. Comfort and familiarity play a role in the makeup of a team (of course), and Green is just now beginning to find himself within his role in the systems of the Grizzlies.

The ceiling is higher with the future. For this season, they have likely run out of time to make it work with Green as a starter. So, the bench move makes sense, for this postseason at least.

This started some debate on Twitter. I agree with the "hot take" of Coach Joerger in this situation, especially considering these simple truths...

  1. Memphis has a hell of a home court advantage and should try to pursue that as long as possible.
  2. San Antonio is .5 games out of the five seed, meaning the two seed could likely mean not having to see SAS or the Golden State Warriors until a potential Western Conference Finals match-up.
  3. Memphis is 10-10 in their last 20 and needs as many opportunities to play good basketball as a unit as possible heading into the playoffs.
Our own Jonah Jordan did a great job arguing for resting Marc Gasol in his article from earlier in the week (click this link to check it out) but you can achieve this without effectively shutting him down for a week and/or several games. This stretch of three games on the horizon - against the Thunder, Wizards, and Pelicans - are all at home and will be played over the span of seven days. That means just as many off days as game days from now until April 9th. Rest will be available for Memphis, so hopefully Coach Joerger is managing practices effectively (Memphis was off completely on Tuesday, and resumed practice today).

On top of that, as I detailed earlier in the week in our playoffs standings update, rest can also be achieved through cutting minutes. Simply reducing Marc Gasol's minutes, for example, from 33.5 (his season average) to 28 can give Marc what effectively adds up to an entire game off (38.5 minutes less of playing time). He is still impacting the game and helping in the pursuit of the two seed/division title, but is getting a breather in-game. Kosta Koufos is more than capable of picking up the slack.

It is a loaded question. In theory, between Mike Conley, Courtney Lee, and Vince Carter, there is enough shooting to force teams to respect their floor spacing ability.

Again, in theory.

During the Grizzlies' current 10-10 run of mediocrity, Courtney Lee's shot chart (in 18 games played) is less than ideal.

Lee Shot Chart 4-1

35.4% shooting overall, 24.6% from three point land. Yes, Courtney's injury woes are well understood. Regardless of the reason, his issues with his shot have been a major contributor to Memphis' offensive woes over the past month or so. Mike Conley (45% from 3 in the last five games) and Vince Carter (42.1% in the last five games from beyond the arc) have begun to regain their form, but Lee's stroke from range remains a good barometer for Grizzly success (50% overall shooting, 50.8% from three in wins, 34.2% overall and 20.8% from three in losses).

This will have to be a separate post down the road...lots to say on this one, and I am not sure my stomach can take the playoff push AND this situation right now...


Again, these were just highlights. If you want all of Faulkner's Tweets go to his Twitter page, or if you want to listen to the audio of the great interview done by Chris Vernon himself, go to "The Chris Vernon Show's" podcast page. Also, we will have GBB's own Matt Hrdlicka and Yahoo 730's Issac Simpson on GBBLive tomorrow night at 6:30 CT to discuss these topics and a lot more. Be sure to join us!