First, a few quicks sells:
Marc Gasol is playing MVP-level basketball
He will never play well enough over the course of a full season to get legitimate MVP consideration. He plays in too small of a market on a team that struggles to compete for championships; plus he isn’t really that interesting as a “superstar”. Guys like LeBron James and even Giannis Antetokounmpo will get this shine before Marc, fair or unfair.
Andrew Harrison will get legitimate minutes this season
No, no he won’t. He is playing right now because there isn’t any other option. Fizdale can’t move him to the bench because that could screw up the bench chemistry that has worked so far. When Wayne Selden Jr. and Ben McLemore return, bye Andrew.
Chandler Parsons is better on the bench
Okay, sure, he needs to stay there until he can prove his body can log around 30 minutes a game. But he is a baller, brought to Memphis on a max deal for a reason. He has looked really good early this season and seems to be locked in on returning to his true form. He is (when healthy and hopefully he is/will be) a legitimate NBA starter.
Mario Chalmers is playing well
He has committed 26 fouls so far this season, just two short of team leading Jarrell Martin (who has logged 8 more minutes). He is shooting 30% from the field, the worst on the team, on the 4th most field goal attempts. He looks slow, like he hasn’t played a game in over a year. Oh wait…
Overreactions that I’m buying:
Dillon Brooks is a legit Rookie of the Year candidate
I think I can speak for all Grizzlies fans in that we are ecstatic about the future for Dillon Brooks. Memphis never gets to see the fruit of a draft pick bloom so quickly. He has been a defensive force, a key contributor to this lock down Memphis defense that most of the NBA thought moved to New Orleans. He is shooting 48% from the field, leading the team in steals, and he’s fourth in minutes played (only 2 minutes behind James Ennis III).
Of course, he isn’t the most glamorous rookie in this year’s class, but he is holding his own against the NBA’s elite, just seven games into his young career. De’Aaron Fox and Lonzo Ball have higher profile resumes and media following, and even statistically have better cases for ROY. But it’s the overall contribution to a quality team that should be Brooks’ evaluation. (Please, please someone come up with a good nickname. Or someone establish that we will just simply call him Dillon.)
Marc Gasol will make the All-Star game
As I mentioned above, he won’t get many, if any MVP votes, though if he keeps up his dominance, he will deserve some. But the NBA isn’t blind to Marc Gasol’s talent and production. He has made three all-star appearances and was even a starter in 2015. The city of Memphis doesn’t get to enjoy elite talent like this, and definitely not that much respect. This year could be another year that Marc Gasol puts the city on the map and minds of the NBA universe by representing Memphis as an All-Star.
Side note, the center position in the West is just a little stacked: Rudy Gobert, DeAndre Jordan, DeMarcus Cousins, Anthony Davis (if he counts as a center), and Karl-Anthony Towns.
The Memphis Grizzlies are a top 10 team in the NBA
The Memphis Grizzlies started the week with the best record in the NBA. Of course, there wasn’t much national talk about them before the season since they were seen to likely drop out of the playoff hunt by many. But two wins against the mighty Houston Rockets and a home win against the Warriors prove that this Grizzlies team is legit. We all woke up Tuesday frustrated by the tough loss to the Charlotte Hornets Monday night, but every good team is given a few passes each season. The bench production has been the best wild card ever given so far, and Mike Conley hasn’t put together a solid stretch of games yet. Not to mention, there are three crucial injuries to rotation players.
In other words: there is more to come from the Memphis Grizzlies. I haven’t been this excited about a Memphis Grizzlies season since…well, ever. Taking a look at the schedule for November, there is plenty of room to win a chunk of games. Houston provides two more tough tests and San Antonio hosts the Grizz to end the month, but other than that, the Grizzlies will likely be favored in almost every other game in November.
Come on NBA fans and media, give credit where credit is due.
David Fizdale will win Coach of the Year
Someone give me three reasons why he shouldn’t. This Grizz team is supposed to miss the playoffs and start a discreet rebuilding phase. Fizdale is having none of that. For once in Memphis, this team is exciting and watchable for all 48 minutes. He hasn’t changed the culture, but he has made some important additions. Defense is still the priority, but transition scoring and faster pace are now added to the priority list.
Coach Fizdale is already exceeding expectations while maintaining the identity that the city of Memphis fell in love with. He came into a tough situation with older players who left to cash in elsewhere (not wrong for that) and young, raw talent with no full sense of direction. He has made the most of this makeshift roster created almost out of nothing this offseason and looks to be pushing this team to heights no one thought could be reached.
The Grizzlies face a long road trip (five straight road games) in the next two weeks. This hot start can quickly turn cold, let’s all hope our expectations continue to be shattered.
All stats provided by Basketball Reference.