Welcome to The Week-side Help, a week-by-week recap with analysis, stats, and evaluation of the Memphis Grizzlies along with a preview of the week ahead. Let’s jump right in.
Week 1 Results:
Week 1 Storylines:
Chandler Parsons booed by Grizzlies fans at season, home opener | GBB’s own Joe Mullinax with a fair defense of Chandler Parsons with an inspection of how it came to this.
Grizzlies start 2-0 for second time since they relocated to Memphis (2001).
Dillon Brooks has a debut to remember.
Grizzlies bench is rejuvenated, Mario Chalmers makes his return from an Achilles injury.
Breaking it Down:
- The constant energy and ball movement by the offense is a night-and-day difference from last year, where Mike and Marc were surrounded by mostly statues on the 3-point line.
- Said ball movement is getting everyone involved on offense, which keeps defenses guessing and the Grizzlies motivated to play
- Dillon Brooks!
- Chandler Parsons is a hell of a lot more fluid this season, which is to be expected with better health. The relationship between fans and Parsons has been toxic (see above, or anywhere on Twitter), but continuing this level of play would go a long way to shutting up those fans who will never be pleased, but at least quiet. He isn’t hesitating on open 3-pointers or on drives to the basket, and is shooting reasonably well. This season looks promising for the Florida product.
- Seriously! Dillon Brooks!
I was not high on him coming into this season, thinking he was too undersized to keep up with NBA wings. Two games in, I’ve been proven wrong. His energy and hustle on defense is contagious and is forcing opposing turnovers. He snagged 4 steals in his debut game and was guarding Kevin Durant (the opposite of undersized, to be honest) for stretches during Saturday’s tilt. This is the perfect time to overreact, so take everything with a grain of salt this early, but Brooks looks like a competent NBA player on defense.
- Mario Chalmers is doing a fantastic job as backup point guard and is justifying the release of former 1st-round pick Wade Baldwin IV. He is not afraid to play fast and he made a few smart plays this first week. He’s definitely showing some rust with his shooting, but I would give him a bit more time before it becomes worrisome.
- The Memphis Grizzlies had too few wings a year ago, and now they might have too many. James Ennis, Chandler Parsons (who doubles as a PF), Dillon Brooks, and Tyreke Evans have all played well. When 2-3 of them are on the court, it gives the Grizzlies a lot of opportunities to switch defensively.
- This team had athletes last year, but this new style of play has allowed that athleticism to show. Jarell Martin and James Ennis III combined for what seemed like 497 dunks on Saturday night, but more importantly this team can get up and down the floor in a way that they’re never really chasing the opponents. If this team continue to run like this they could be really fun to watch. David Fizdale deserves a lot of credit for the transformation.
Week 1 Numbers to Know (Other Than 1):
100% - As in the percentage of shots James Ennis has made all season. If he keeps that pace, he would shatter the single season record held by DeAndre Jordan. Obviously.
+38.9% - The change from 16-17 to 17-18 in team free throw attempts a game for the Grizz. This team was still above average at getting to the line a year ago, but this increase is a big reason why the wins were so dominant last week.
62 - The total minutes Dillon Brooks has logged for Grizzlies this season, good for 3rd behind Mike Conley and Marc Gasol, all within 4 minutes of each other. The Grizz organization had to have known Brooks could play like this, or they wouldn’t have trusted him from the get go to get those minutes. But Brooks has earned it. He has a plus-minus of (bonus number!) +17 in the first two games and he has an energy that Memphis fans love, or will come to love once he does it consistently.
Week 1 Grade: A
Well, Memphis is undefeated, so it’s not going to be a bad grade. But the manner in which they’ve disposed of their opponents, specifically the Warriors, was thoroughly impressive. They won both games by an average margin of 11 points, they’re getting to the line, and they’re playing extremely stout defense. In a very early broad glimpse, this team has a top-10 offensive and defensive rating. That is championship-caliber play and although it may not last, for the purposes of this week the Memphis Grizzlies get a strong A for doing it to a division rival and the reigning champs.
Week 2 Schedule and Preview:
Memphis @ Houston 10/23 (Tonight!)
Memphis @ Dallas 10/25
Dallas @ Memphis 10/26
Houston @ Memphis 10/28
It’s Texas Week, apparently. These games might not be that important in terms of making judgements about these teams, but they count all the same for playoff tiebreakers. Although the NBA schedule has a reduced number of back-to-backs, the Dallas set is still one of 16 for the Memphis Grizzlies, which is tied for the league high.
Houston will most likely be without Chris Paul for both games due to his knee contusion, who the Houston Rockets say will be “week-to-week” with the injury. However, this Rockets team was still a championship contender without Paul last year and they’re playing style can break any team on any given night. Look for how Coach Fizdale uses smaller, quicker lineups to combat the Houston attack.
Dallas, however, is constantly well-coached and because of that, constantly a winning threat. However, the Mavs will be without 3 of their key guards for a period of time, yet is unclear how long that period of time will last. Even if all 3 return before the Memphis home-and-home, Memphis is the better team and should take care of business, even when that scenario is exactly when Memphis DOESN’T take care of business.
Have a good week, Memphis.