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Week-side Help: Week 11 - Happy New Bear

Get it? Like Happy New Year? But bear, because the Grizzlies? Anyway, this recap’s Memphis’ week in basketball and handing out year-end awards

NBA: Memphis Grizzlies at Sacramento Kings Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Week 11 Results

Memphis Grizzlies 97 (10-24) @ Phoenix Suns 99 Recap | Box Score

Memphis Grizzlies 109 (11-24) @ Los Angeles Lakers 99 Recap | Box Score

Memphis Grizzlies 128 (11-25) @ Golden State Warriors 141 Recap | Box Score

Memphis Grizzlies 114 (12-25) @ Sacramento Kings 96 Recap | Box Score

Week 11 Storylines

-Memphis goes 2-2 on the week during their west coast road trip. First time going .500 or better in a week since Week 2.

-Wayne Selden made his return from a quad injury Sunday night against the Kings. He totaled 10 points

-An update on Mike Conley’s Achilles injury and timetable is expected Monday or Tuesday.

-Required Reading: GBB’s Brandon Abraham takes a look at Memphis cupboard to gauge our assets in the event of a tank. | GBB’s Mark King wrote about how the Memphis Grizzlies are tanking, whether they want to or not.

Official Permanent Lottery Watch of the Week

12/31 NBA Lottery Standings
tankathon.com

This was the most successful week in quite some time for Memphis and as a result their standing in the lottery watch has dropped from 2nd to 4th. Before Sunday’s game against Sacramento, Memphis was one game back from the top spot. The win pushed them down to 4th, where there should still be franchise talent. This draft is deep at the top, wih six or so potential franchise talents.

From now on, I will be attaching a video of top draft prospects’ highlights in hopes we become familiar before the draft. This week features Marvin Bagley III, the stud freshman from Duke. Here is his performance against Indiana where he notched 23 points and 10 rebounds. He’s been drawing comparisons to Chris Bosh in terms of style of play, which I think is fair, but Bagley has a lot of room to grow on the defensive end to make that connection to Bosh. Bagley is very talented and is likely a lock to go top-5 in the 2018 draft.

Performance of the Week

Tyreke Evans @ LAL: 32 points (8-17 FG, 2-6 3PA, 14-15 FT) 7 rebs, 7 asts, 2 TOs, +22 +/-

It became really hard to keep handing this out for performances in losses, so it comes and goes every other week. But Tyreke was incredible this week and deserves some praise, especially for his game against the Lakers on Wednesday. He was aggressive and it paid off with 15 opportunities at the charity stripe.

Reke lit my world on fire with his performance in the first month or so of games. He tailed off as the team as a whole struggled, but Tyreke Evans on fire is the best chance this team has of winning now-a-days. Another showcase game for the 2018 free agent, and he deserves to show off with this performance.

2017 Awards

Game of the Year: San Antonio Spurs vs Memphis Grizzlies, Game 4, April 22nd, 2017

The last 4 minutes of regulation and all of overtime might have been the best basketball I have ever seen, let alone the whole season. Mike Conley and Kawhi Leonard going shot-for-shot still has my heart racing at the thought of it. I’ve never been more convinced that Kawhi Leonard is the perfect basketball player than seeing him hit contested clutch shot after contested clutch shot while playing Hall of Fame defense on the other end. He scored the Spurs’ final 16 points of the fourth quarter. Kawhi would finish with 43 points, 8 rebounds, and 6 steals.

And it still wasn’t enough. This was the game that made me think that 2018 would be Conley’s for the taking with how well he played. He ended the night with 35 points, 9 rebounds, and 8 assists. If it weren’t for a triple double obsession around the league, Conley would have gotten his due credit way before this game. But in a playoff game when the lights where the brightest, Conley shined brighter, fully earning his Captain Clutch moniker.

This game was peak Memphis. When we should have been at the end of our rope, the team fought back and succeeded directly in the face of adversity and disadvantages. Game Four will have a special place in my heart for a long time.

MVP: Mike Conley

Just as lights out Mike Conley has been in the first half of 2017, he is sorely missed from the team in the second half of the season which makes him the calendar MVP.

For reasons stated above in Game of the Year, I thought the 2017-18 season was going to be an extension of his coming out party. After a career-high scoring average and highs in efficiency, it would have been the perfect time to do so. Now, the Grizzlies sorely miss Mike Conley. After starting the new season 7-4, Memphis is 5-21 without their franchise point guard. While Marc Gasol has floundered and burned bridges, Mike Conley looks more and more valuable by the day.

Line of the Year: “They not gon’ rook us”

Everyone yells “take that for data!” and it is what stuck after the press conference, but former Grizzlies coach David Fizdale letting his South Central show with “they not gon’ rook us” in his press conference after the Game 2 loss to the San Antonio Spurs in the playoffs is definitely the best line of the rant. After Fizdale felt the Spurs got extra beneficiary foul calls because of their reputation, he let his frustrations be known.

They not gon’ rook us is a much better rallying cry than take that for data, yet take that for data stuck and got alllll the credit. Well not today. They not gon’ rook us wins Line of the Year.

Memphian of the Year: Young Dolph

“It’s Dolph!”

If you aren’t familiar with Young Dolph, he has a story to tell. Before a February show in Charlotte, the Memphis rapper’s vehicle was shot at one hundred times by assailants allegedly hired by rapper Yo Gotti. No one was injured, and Dolph still went on to perform at the concert later that day and STILL PLAYED THE SONG THAT YO GOTTI WAS ANGRY ABOUT.

If you think he’s bulletproof, he does too. He released an album titled as such and dissed Yo Gotti for the entire 31 minutes of the LP. The actual tracklist spells out a sentence that shouldn’t be printed here, but is still mighty disrespectful in the best way. He littered the songs with references to the incident that just gives me secondhand embarrassment for Yo Gotti.

How did Young Dolph escape such a scary situation? It turns out he is bulletproof. Or his cars are, at least. He claims that he spent $600k on 2 bulletproof vehicles just for this situation. Anyone who has spent six figures PREPARING for a situation like this is no one to mess with.

Unfortunately for Young Dolph, preparation wasn’t everything, and another attempt was made for his life in Hollywood this past September. The shooting left him in critical condition, but fortunately he was able to make a full recovery. Unfortunately for Yo Gotti, Young Dolph would go on to release his second shooting-influenced project of the year directed at dissing who shot him. I don’t know anyone else from Memphis who even released one such project all year.

Both albums were great, but not album of the year material. Dolph doesn’t get this honor for making good music, though. He gets this honor for showing tremendous resiliency in front of genuine adversity, not the adversity I spoke about earlier when I was just discussing a sports game. Also, what an amazing trash talk year this rapper had.

To learn about Young Dolph the man, and what motivated him before and after the shootings, I would recommend reading this fascinating interview Dolph gave with The Fader.

Not to mention, he had the best immediate response to being shot possible, even if there’s a misspelling. Dolph runs away with this award.

Week 12 Schedule and Preview

Memphis Grizzlies @ Los Angeles Clippers Tues. Jan 2nd 10:30 ET/9:30 CT

Washington Wizards @ Memphis Grizzlies Fri. Jan 5th 9:30 ET/8:30 CT

Light week!

The Clippers are still the worst. Not in terms of playing basketball, but just in terms of existing on the same Earth as the Memphis Grizzlies. The last time these two played, L.A. made a furious comeback late, but the Grizz dominated. After a long road trip during the holidays, Memphis might be looking ahead to just coming home and not keep 100% of their focus on L.A.

That Wizards game might have a good reason to be a look ahead, though. Ronald Tillery of The Commercial Appeal brought up the possibility of Mike Conley returning in that match-up if the next medical update from the Grizzlies goes well. The report claims Conley has “progressed strongly” in the treatment of recovery of his left Achilles injury, and with teams wanting to bring back their recovering players at home, this would be a prime spot, IF Mike is healthy.

If not, the calls to shut him down for the season will grow louder and louder if the team keeps losing. The All-Star break is just six weeks away, and the chance for Memphis to make its way back into the playoff hunt has diminished considerably.

Have a good week, Memphis. And Happy New Year!

Follow @sbnGrizzlies