Week 3 Results
Week 3 Storylines
- Memphis blow two 10-pt leads against Charlotte, Orlando.
-Dillon Brooks gets his first career start @ LAC, replaces Andrew Harrison in the starting lineup.
-JaMychal Green News: Green tells Grind City Media that he hopes to play this Saturday against Houston.
-Ben McLemore begins his rehab assignment in the G-League for the Memphis Hustle.
-Memphis splits Los Angeles road trip, beating the Clippers and falling to the Lakers
-This team can still get stuck in the mud. The games against Charlotte and Orlando showed some pretty gross offense by Memphis. Charlotte didn’t lead all game after giving up the lead midway through the 4th quarter. But after the Grizzlies went 11-44 in the 2nd half, it would have been hard for Charlotte not to win.
-Most of the time it’s just poor shot selection, or an out-of-sync offense that can’t even find an open shot. Against Orlando, it was a lot of mental mistakes. Mario Chalmers was publicly reprimanded by David Fizdale for his poor choices in the 4th quarter, but he wasn’t the only one responsible.
-I used this space last week to praise Tyreke Evans, but I want to do it again. He’s been a bedrock for a team that hasn’t been clicking at 100% yet. In the Orlando game, when nothing was going right, Tyreke was our security blanket. He has no problem taking over a game and controlling the pace, fast or slow, to whatever the situation dictates. Reke is awesome. Another good stretch of games for him.
-I wish to be do anything as cooly as Marc Gasol underhandedly passing the ball.
-Given the way Andrew Harrison has played this year with the rise of a spectacular bench, there was little doubt he was going to be moved from the starting lineup sooner or later. I like the insertion of Dillon Brooks in Harrison’s place because it does two things for the Grizzlies: it provides the threat of 3-point shooting that wasn’t there with Andrew Harrison on the court, and it allows Memphis to switch even more defensively.
Dillon Brooks has defended Blake Griffin and James Harden off of switches this season because he’s an energetic, smart perimeter defender and he has the strength to keep up with bigger opponents. His first game was a stinker, as he fouled out and only shot 1-8 from the field, but his impact on the rest of the team’s spacing and defense is worth the move to the starting lineup.
-Now, we need to really consider what this means for Andrew Harrison. Because it wasn’t simply a case of swapping locations for a starter and a bench player. Harrison missed the entire Clippers game as Fizdale moved to a 9-man rotation from the normal 10-man. Harrison is going to be the 3rd PG, and 5th overall guard, for this Memphis team now that the continuity reason for keeping him in the lineup was shattered.
Andrew is somehow a worse shooter this year than last (.477 true shooting percentage in 16-17 to .454 in 17-18) and hasn’t made up for it with improved playmaking or defense. If you’re going to be a bad offensive player, you better save some points on the other end. Harrison did not do that. The Grizzlies are allowing 25.805 more points per-100-possessions with Andrew Harrison on the court versus on the bench.
I defended Harrison last year and before this season because of his physical tools. He’s not a lost cause and I wouldn’t be surprised if he earns playing time again, but it’s been a bad week for the young man. With a surplus of capable playmakers, it might be hard for him to find playing time.
-On a similar note, what’s David Fizdale going to do with Wayne Selden Jr., Ben McLemore, and JaMychal Green when they come back? Green obviously starts once he’s 100%, but that probably puts Martin back to the end of the bench where he’s best suited anyways. He tries really hard and his athleticism is great, but that’s the case for almost everyone in the NBA. Martin might play when Chandler Parsons can’t, but his playing time won’t be consistent afterwards.
McLemore and Selden are more interesting. Dillon Brooks is probably most affected by their return. Tyreke is permanent 6th-man and James Ennis III has done okay as the starter. So one of them might take Brooks’ new starting spot and put Brooks back on the bench. Fizdale favors continuity and chemistry, but he isn’t afraid to change up roles when they could be better.
-There’s no guarantee Selden or McLemore will even warrant a spot in the starting lineup either. Time will tell who of the Grizz bench wings deserves to be in the main rotation, but it’ll be interesting to see how those two return to a team with an already great bench.
-Memphis’s defense was really bad against the Lakers on Sunday night. The team as a whole had some terrible rotations and Jarell Martin was getting exposed. The Lakers were able to get some really easy looks at the basket (a whole lot) while the Grizzlies let them blow past on every drive. Brandon Ingram looks like a young star in the making, but Memphis made it too easy for him to flourish early on.
-Can Memphis just win one game against a bad team by a comfortable margin? Doesn’t even have to be right now, just whenever you can get around to it, Memphis. No rush or anything.
-I was way more thrown off than I should have been by seeing Dillon Brooks play without shooting sleeves.
Best Week 3 Performance
Tyreke Evans vs ORL, 32 pts (13-20 FG, 4-6 3P), 4 ast, 3 reb, 5 TO, +9 +/-
Tyreke was on fire that night. He could do no wrong on a night when his team needed production in the worst way.
Evans was doing well in every phase of the offense. He had no problems pulling up for three off of a ball-screen. When he wasn’t pulling up, he was penetrating and either making pretty layups or pretty passes to the perimeter. Memphis didn’t have Mike Conley available with his Achilles soreness, and Tyreke really stepped up. Marc Gasol had a fine game, but it may have been a blowout if Tyreke didn’t score 32. Memphis needed each and every single one of those points.
Another Sixth Man of the Year checkmark next to his name. Memphis lost, but it’s the Sixth Man award! Who cares!
Numbers to Know
6.9%: Mike Conley’s turnover percentage for this season, before Sunday’s game against the Lakers. Despite Conley’s highest usage of his career, he’s turning the ball over at the lowest rate of his career. The Grizzlies as a whole have done a great job of limiting turnovers; they are first in the NBA in that category. But Conley himself has been great individually. His shooting started off quite poorly, and has been better lately, but if it were to get to last year’s shooting efficiency this team’s offense would be on a new level.
+24.8: Chandler Parsons’ net plus-minus per-100 possessions, otherwise known as On-Off per 100. CP has taken the move to backup PF quite well this season. As I stated in last week’s numbers, his shooting has been incredible even if it did take a dip in week 3. Parsons has been a great part of the bench and the Lakers game showed how quickly you can miss him.
Memphis doesn’t have any true 4’s or anyone who could play the 4 for an extended period of time without Parsons there. Jarell Martin starts, but when he came off the bench on Sunday, James Ennis moved up a position and it never quite worked. Parsons has legitimate size and playmaking skills, and he has the skillset to be a 4 in today’s NBA. Tyreke Evans is anchoring the bench, but Parsons still plays a valuable role.
Week 3 Grade: D+
The first two games of the week were D and F worthy, frankly. Losses happen in the NBA when you don’t expect them, but it’s more admirable to lose against for-sure playoff teams after battling and playing smart. It’s more deflating when the exact opposite happens in home losses to lesser teams. If they played better in the 4th quarter of those games it might leave a better taste in my mouth and therefore a better grade, but alas, no.
The Grizz partially redeemed the week with their L.A. road trip. They beat the Clippers soundly, which is all a Grizz fan could want, but they followed it up with a loss against the Lakers Sunday night that was a lot further apart than the final score indicates. Winning against the Clippers feels good, but that Lakers game tanked this grade. Every time the Grizzlies lose to a bad team, an angel gets its wings. So if anything, it was good, and in fact, not bad that the Grizzlies lost to a team that has picked no. 2 in the draft for three consecutive years.
Week 4 Schedule and Preview
Memphis @ Portland Trail Blazers 11/7
Memphis @ Houston Rockets 11/11
It’s like we barely play this week! Memphis has already played two back-to-backs in the first 10 games of the season, so this light week will balance out the schedule and give this team some needed rest.
Portland has a top-10 offensive and defensive rating in this young season, but that should come with a giant sun-sized asterisk. They played Phoenix twice including once pre-Earl Watson firing. That game was the first of the year for both teams and Portland beat Phoenix by FORTY-EIGHT (48) POINTS. Credit goes to Phoenix just for not losing by 50 at that point.
Those rating numbers are going to be inflated for the first few games of the year, but Portland is still a good team and Damian Lillard is always a bonafide threat every night. Former Grizzly Ed Davis is also weirdly averaging a career-high in rebounds despite one of his lowest minute-averages in his career.
The Houston game will be important as a divisional game, but also for JaMychal Green’s return. Green said he hopes to be back for this game, so be on the lookout if there are any complications and his return is delayed or if he’s back to 100% and can play this week. What’s important is Green’s health, but knowing he’s close to coming back is exciting.
Have a good week, Memphis.