(Editor's Note: I don't know if you know this, but the Grizzlies had a lot of players this year. Like...more than any team ever. After taking volunteers to do player evaluations from the staff, I still had to farm some of these out to outside sources. Today's review has been written by Carmen Patton from All Heart In Hoop City, @1PrettyPearl on Twitter.)
On February 16, the Memphis Grizzlies gave a fond farewell to Courtney Lee and said hello to Chris “Birdman” Andersen, 4 future second round draft picks, and P.J. Hairston in a three way trade between Memphis, Miami and Charlotte. Hairston joined the Grizzlies by way of Charlotte and two of the four future second round draft picks, and Charlotte gained Lee. Hairston left Charlotte having played in 48 games (43 starts), averaging 6 points (36% shooting) in 19.5 minutes per game. Lee left Memphis having played in 51 games (51 starts), averaging 10 points (46% shooting) in 29.2 minutes per game. Lee was 37% accurate from the 3 point line when he left. Hairston came in making 31% of his 3 point shots. Lee has 8 years in the league; Hairston has 2. Did Memphis gain or lose with the addition of Hairston?
Hairston played his first game for the Memphis Grizzlies in Memphis on February 19 against the Minnesota Timberwolves. He came off the bench and played just 7 minutes. He took 3 shots and made 1. He ended the game with 2 points, 1 assist and 1 steal. With injury being the theme of this season in Memphis, it was only befitting for Hairston to have to start in his 2nd game with the Grizzlies, on the road, because Tony Allen was injured.
Hairston started a total of 9 games for the Grizzlies from February 21 through March 7. During that time frame Hairston averaged 8.5 points in 24 minutes per game. He made 38% of his field goals and hit 33% of three point shots. The Grizzlies went 6-3 while Hairston was in the starting lineup.
Again, the theme of the year apparently was injury, and Hairston was not exempt. He missed a total of 11 games starting March 16 due to a left groin strain. Hairston returned to the bench on April 8 and played in the team’s last 4 games of the regular season and 2 games in the post-season.
Hairston accomplished a few career highs in Memphis. He had a 35 minute game on March 7. In case you’ve forgotten, that was the infamous Hateful Eight game against the Cleveland Cavaliers. He made 8 field goals and scored 21 points against the Los Angeles Lakers on February 26. He made five 3 point shots in that same game and tied with his high of 3 point shots taken with 9 attempts. Let’s mark February 26 down as Hairston’s best game in the season and his career.
Hairston’s averages in Memphis are just slightly different from what they were when he arrived. So, it’s fair to say he’s a consistent player. He played in 18 games for the Grizzlies, starting in half of those. He averaged 6.9 points in 20.8 minutes per game. He made 34% of his field goals and 23% of his 3 point shots. Averages are kind of misleading sometimes. Were it not for the grace of a 17 (LAL), 21 (LAL) and 14 (DEN) game that average would be much lower.
P.J. Hairston Pre All-Star Game
P.J. Hairston Post-All-Star Game
If you assumed that Hairston was brought to Memphis to solve its woes, I’m sorry to disappoint you. Hairston wasn’t meant to be a difference maker, and he didn’t come in and surprise anyone as one either. This was a business transaction, plain and simple. Hairston came to Memphis on an expiring $1.2M contract. Courtney Lee left Memphis on an expiring $5.6M contract. Hairston brought with him two future 2nd round draft picks. So, to answer my question from earlier, Memphis gained in my book by Hairston being here. Yet, the likelihood, as I see it, of seeing Hairston in a Grizzlies uniform in the 2016-17 season is rather slim. I’m not certain that even being here healthy for a whole season would put him in a position to help this franchise. However, I sincerely wish him well in his future endeavors.
Grade for Hairston: C-