Week 15 Results
Week 15 Storylines
-In an injury update on Saturday, the Grizzlies announced Mike Conley will undergo season-ending surgery to repair his heel.
-In the same update, the Grizzlies announce that Chandler Parsons is day-to-day with his knee injury. James Ennis III and JaMychal Green are expect back this week.
-Memphis goes 1-2 on their week-long homestand.
-Required Reading: GBB’s Mac Trammell with a fantastic analysis of why Tyreke Evans (and his trade value) holds the key to the future of the Memphis Grizzlies.
Week 15 Thoughts
-Mike Conley being shut down for the season is the absolute right decision. I’m happy that he won’t be putting his body on the line for a useless season. But I feel that this decision could have been made a lot sooner.
-This team fired its coach 19 games into the season, but decided in late January that the season was lost? If the decision to get the surgery *now* rather than earlier, I don’t think it was 100% based on health. I just wish it wasn’t drawn out this long for what seemed like an inevitable conclusion. I wish Mike Conley recovers 100% for his sake. We can worry about next season after we know he’s healthy.
-This newfound push to hire J.B. Bickerstaff as the permanent head coach might be the most infuriating thing I’ve seen from this franchise in years. Please bear with me.
-The Grizzlies want to do it so bad. Both the play-by-play and color commentator for the Memphis Grizzlies have lobbied publicly for Bickerstaff to get the job permanently. J.B. Bickerstaff was on The Chris Vernon Show (a Grind City Media production) in what increasingly feels like an audition for the job.
-HOW DOES THAT MAKE SENSE. Think about the fact that employees of the Memphis Grizzlies are using a bleeping *radio interview* with another Memphis Grizzlies employee as an example for why Bickerstaff should be the permanent head coach. I respect Pete Pranica and Brevin Knight, I think they’re an intelligent and cohesive commentary duo and they do great work. I respect Chris Vernon, he *gets* basketball a hell of a lot more than other personalities and has multiple good shows. But when sport franchises start getting into the business of state-run media, they run the risk of looking like a propaganda wing whenever they lean into the analysis of their own team. I get the business behind it, but this franchise is fooling itself if they think most fans are going to believe it.
-What exactly has Bickerstaff does as a basketball coach to deserve the full-time job? He played the younger guys? That’s because the past two weeks the Grizzlies have had 9 guys on the injury report and there’s literally no one else to play. Myke Henry has almost surpassed Ivan Rabb in minutes on the whole season and I don’t know what he does well, if anything.
-Before the Fizdale firing, Memphis had an offensive, defensive, and net rating of 102/103.2/-1.2 Afterwards, those numbers are now 104.1/108.4/-4.3, a sharp decline on the defensive end. Memphis still plays at a glacial pace despite the team having young athletes who can and want to run. It’s not like he’s invigorating Marc Gasol to play any better, either. So again, I ask the question, what has J.B. Bickerstaff done as a basketball coach to deserve the full-time job?
-Thank you for your patience while this season gives me a mental breakdown.
-Tyreke Evans trade talks should really start heating up soon. The trade deadline is just 10 days away and Reke is the only Grizzly who absolutely has to be traded. Trading Marc Gasol or Mike Conley are philosophical questions that I don’t think will get an answer to anytime soon. However, Tyreke might be playing the best basketball of his life this season and he’s on an expiring deal that will be way too expensive next year after his free agency. Memphis absolutely needs to strike while the iron is hot on Reke and swindle a team who wants to go all-in on a playoff push. (Also, shouts to Peter Edmiston for the amazing stat below)
Remember that Tyreke Evans stat I threw at you a week or two ago? It's gotten crazier:— Peter Edmiston (@peteredmiston) January 29, 2018
Since Christmas, the Grizzlies are +10.2 pts/100 poss w/ Tyreke on the court and -13.9 with him off the court. Only 2 players in the league w/ more NetRtg impact: Victor Oladipo & Otto Porter
-You know those things that you don’t notice until someone mentions it and now you can’t stop noticing it? That’s me after this tweet:
Entry passes are hard for the Grizzlies— Mark King (@king_producer) January 27, 2018
-Since that tweet I probably saw 4 or 5 bad entry passes later that game against the Clippers. Also goes to show you that you don’t know what you don’t know. If I ever come across as someone who knows everything about basketball, slap me across the face because there’s something new to learn everyday, especially for myself.
-Man, that Kobi Simmons week feels like 5 months ago. Now that Conley is out for the year, we can’t sign Kobi for the rest of the season?
Official Permanent Lottery Watch of the Week
Memphis is now at the #6 spot, losing ground to the truly awful of the league. The scary part is, I’m pretty sure that Chicago and Brooklyn are a lot worse than their current records. I’m worried that those two, including the Lakers, are going to crash post-All-Star break and leapfrog Memphis in the lottery standings.
The Mike Conley news has definitely guaranteed a high-ish pick for the 2018 draft. How high that pick is depends on a few things, like a possible Tyreke Evans trade and the very, very faint possibility of a Marc Gasol trade, that could really send this tank into hyper-drive.
Prospect of the Week: Miles Bridges
When Memphis decides to screw up this tank, we should be used to the second-tier prospects that aren’t slam-dunks. Heck, even if this tank does go full bore ahead and Memphis has the #1 spot pre-lottery, the lottery could drop them to #4. And from #2 to #5, #3 to #6, so on and so forth. Miles Bridges was considered a lottery prospect a year ago and decided to bet on himself and stay for his sophomore year at Michigan State. If he enters the 2018 draft, he’ll have won that bet.
Miles Bridges is one of the few SF prospects at the top of this draft. He’s going to make his bones in the NBA as a scorer. He’s super-athletic with a shot that works in all three levels of the court. That’s going to translate to the NBA. What else does remains to be seen. For teams that are scared off by Michael Porter Jr’s back injury, Miles Bridges is going to be the top wing prospect on the board.
Week 16 Schedule
Phoenix Suns @ Memphis Grizzlies Mon. Jan 29th 8:00 ET/7:00 CT
Memphis Grizzlies @ Indiana Pacers Weds. Jan 31st 7:00 ET/6:00 CT
Memphis Grizzlies @ Detroit Pistons Thurs. Feb 1st 7:00 ET/6:00 CT
Memphis Grizzlies @ Toronto Raptors Sun. Feb 4th 12:00 ET/11:00 CT
A thicc week of games. With Mike Conley officially done for the year and a slew of injuries still to deal with, this might be one of the tank-est weeks of the year.
The Suns are a dumpster fire, its okay we are too. The games this year have been competitive, both games being decided by just two points, but they haven’t been good or all that fun to watch. With the stacked injury report heading into this game, it looks like a good old-fashioned tank-off.
Afterwards, Memphis will begin a four-game road trip against Eastern Conference foes they have yet to face this year. All three teams have surpassed expectations this year, with the Pacers and Pistons having a much bleaker outlook heading into the season. The Pacers were particularly lost-looking after the Paul George trade in the summer seemed one-sided, but Victor Oladipo has been absolutely fantastic this year with the keys to the offense.
The Raptors have been great this season, one of the best teams in the whole league. I don’t know how much that will matter in the postseason which has caused Toronto quite a bit of frustration in the past. But this is the regular season and Toronto can only play the games in front of them. They have an elite offense and defense, and Memphis is going to be hard-pressed to look competitive.
Have a good week, Memphis