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The Week-side Help: Week 1 - Grizzlies Season

The Grizzlies are back, as is the Week-side Help recapping every week of Memphis Grizzlies basketball

NBA: Atlanta Hawks at Memphis Grizzlies Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

Week 1 Results

Memphis Grizzlies (0-1) 83 @ Indiana Pacers 111 Recap | Box Score

Atlanta Hawks 117 @ Memphis Grizzlies (1-1) 131 Recap | Box Score

Week 1 Storylines

-Memphis F/C JaMychal Green suffered a broken jaw against the Hawks and underwent surgery to repair it. He is expected to miss 4-6 weeks according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

-Several players made their Memphis debut, including rookie Jaren Jackson Jr and veteran Garrett Temple, who combined for 54 points in the big win against Atlanta.

-Memphis splits their 1st week, going 1-1 in J.B. Bickerstaff’s first two games as permanent head coach

-Required Reading: GBB’s Parker Fleming with an excellent diagnosis of the conservative mindset that plagued the Grizzlies’ first game of the year | As J.B. Bickerstaff tries to figure out his rotation, GBB Site Manager Joe Mullinax took a look at Memphis’ mish-mosh of a lineup and tries to make improvements, or sense of it all.

Week 1 Thoughts

-The day one starters were: Mike Conley, Garrett Temple, Chandler Parsons, JaMychal Green, and Marc Gasol. Probably the right choice at the time, but let’s check back on this around Christmas.

-The Pacers game was a terrible opener for a variety of reasons. A chance to restart and refresh and Memphis looked the exact same as last year. Bleh. And they lost by 28 too, which is probably one of those reasons.

-Indiana dominated Memphis with both physicality and skill. Domantas Sabonis (who I am becoming a fan of) could have out-rebounded our whole team with an arm tied behind his back. The Pacers won the rebounding battle 57-28 with Sabonis pitching in 15 off the bench.

-You could see Memphis getting good looks against Indiana. There was an actual semblance of offense being run. But Indiana just played great defense. Their athleticism advantage over Memphis was obvious as they cut off any and every drive opportunity.

-Sorry, another Sabonis rebounding stat: He had six offensive rebounds. The Grizzlies as a whole had seven.

NBA: Memphis Grizzlies at Indiana Pacers
Marc Gasol winces at reading the stats above
Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

-What a difference two days make! The Grizzlies are back to being BACK as they showed out against the Atlanta Hawks in the home opener. Um, well, two days and shooting a 26.6% higher effective field goal percentage in the second game.

-Memphis just seemed like a whole different team on Friday night compared to their debut. Playing at home surely was going to energize them, and they couldn’t shoot 29.8% from the field forever, but it was still a great sight. Garrett Temple pouring in 30 on 10-11 shooting also helped a whole bunch.

-Jaren Jackson Jr. looks a little unpolished, but great. He just turned 19 over a month ago, so he doesn’t need to learn the veteran moves right away. His 24 points and 7 rebounds off the bench on Friday was terrific. The more I see him play and defend the more excited I am for his future.

-A really tough blow for JaMychal Green, who was injured in his second straight home opener. I really hope he gets healthy quick for his sake and he doesn’t get frustrated.

-This does seem to open up a lot of playing time for JJJ, specifically possibly a role in the starting lineup. How he plays up to more responsibility will be interesting to see, but this does mean we’ll see more of Marc Gasol and JJJ on the court at the same which feels fun on paper.

-Mike Conley seems to be in great shape for someone coming off a lost season. It’s hard to imagine he doesn’t improve even more in that regard. He had 16 points and 11 assists Friday night against the Hawks.

-The baby blue uniforms should be permanent home and away sets like the Dallas Cowboys’ whites.

NBA: Atlanta Hawks at Memphis Grizzlies
The Grizzlies surround Kent Bazemore to show off their cool uniforms in comparison
Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

-Bickerstaff is playing around with the rotations now to figure out the best one to use going forward. Makes sense. This means some players that didn’t play much, if at all against Indiana, (Dillon Brooks, Omri Casspi) played a lot more against Atlanta. What didn’t make sense is Wayne Selden Jr. playing six minutes against Indiana and just seven and a half minutes against Atlanta. Did he insult Bickerstaff in someway? Proclaim his disdain for initials?? This is something to keep an eye on, but maybe not hit the panic button over two games in.

Week 2 Schedule and Preview

Memphis Grizzlies @ Utah Jazz, Mon. Oct. 22nd, 9:00 PM ET/8:00 PM CT

Memphis Grizzlies @ Sacramento Kings, Weds. Oct. 24th, 10:00 PM ET/9:00 PM CT

Phoenix Suns @ Memphis Grizzlies, Sat. Oct. 27th, 8:00 PM ET/7:00 PM CT

I would have thought this was as an easy 2-1 week for the Grizzlies a week ago. But the Kings destroyed the Thunder as I was writing this and now I have no confidence.

First up is the Utah Jazz, one of the top-tier teams in a stacked conference. There’s Golden State then everybody else, but Utah might be competing with Houston and maybe the Lakers for the second seed. Fun Utah Jazz fact: they’ve scored exactly 123 points in each of their first two games this season, one a win against Sacramento and one a loss against Golden State. Memphis’ best chance to win is to, uh, not let them score 123 points, probably.

Meanwhile in Sacramento, De’Aaron Fox is looking every bit the top draft pick that he was in 2017. He notched 22 points (7-12 from the field, 7-9 on FT’s) and 10 assists against a returning Russell Westbrook on Sunday night. Listen, nothing will make me fear the Kings until they’ve proven they can be any type of a serious team. Memphis is 1-1 while Sacramento is 1-2. Ipso facto, Sacramento is exactly one basketball worse than Memphis. Seriously though, Memphis needs to take advantage of the Kings’ absurd amount of bigs and play as many guards and wings as possible.

NBA: Sacramento Kings at Oklahoma City Thunder Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports

Finally, I get to see the Week-side Help’s favorite draft prospect against the Grizzlies: Deandre Ayton, now of the Phoenix Suns. There wasn’t really a wrong option in the Luka Doncic-Ayton debate (yet), but I just could not help but be a big fan of Ayton’s potential. He’s so far averaged just 11.5 points and 9.5 rebounds a night in just under 30 minutes a game, as well as a clean 55.6% field goal percentage. I can’t wait to see Jaren Jackson Jr. block a Deandre Ayton into the Earth’s crust.

This feels so good to write again. I’m very happy that Grizzlies basketball and the NBA in general is back. Have a good week, Memphis.

Follow @sbnGrizzlies