The narrative being pushed early this season by the Grizzlies coaching staff is that this team has depth. Well that depth has evaporated completely. The team is relying on Mike Conley and Marc Gasol too heavily to carry this team.
Chandler Parsons went down early, but this team has learned to play without him at this point. The team could not afford the Dillon Brooks injury, however. It took Brooks a few games to get in the groove, but once he settled in, he was the Dillon the team needed. He provided legitimate depth.
The other players off the bench on the wing are Wayne Selden Jr. and MarShon Brooks. The more these two get on the floor, the more they both prove they should not be on the floor. If only there was an internal solution for production on the wing...
How Bad Is Bad?
Take a look at some of these stats as on Sunday -
Wayne Selden - 111 (worst on the team)
MarShon Brooks - 110 (tied for Parsons for second worst)
Wayne Selden - 97
MarShon Brooks - 97
Only Parsons, Watanabe and Rabb are worse. Rabb never plays and Watanabe has only been in for garbage time.
Wayne Selden - 41% from the field and 34% from 3 and a -4.9 overall +/-
MarShon Brooks- 43% from the field and 29% from 3 and a -5.0 overall +/-
These stats tell us that the only player on this team that has been worse than these two: Chandler Parsons.
Wayne Selden is wildly inconsistent any time he steps on the floor. He will make one solid play then follow it up with a head scratcher the next time down. After Selden hits a shot he gives himself the Steph Curry green light, but it’s really more like a Nick Young green light: launching bad shots as heat checks.
Maybe there is a reason that MarShon Brooks spent so much time in China. While his seven game run last season was very impressive, it was also a product of a lost season and someone on the team had to shoot the ball. I entered this season as a believer in Brooks, but 20+ games in and I am not sure he can consistently contribute.
Enter Jevon Carter
Remember that “same as a first round pick” second round pick the front office made this year? That one guy that Chris Wallace said was the best defensive guard prospect he had seen in 30 years? The one spending time in Southaven playing G-League...
It is time for the Grizzlies to give Jevon Carter a chance, as he could not be any less productive than Brooks or Selden.
Carter would immediately be an upgrade defensively over both players and there is no debate to be had there. The question is whether or not he would be able to hold his own on offense.
While playing for the Memphis Hustle, Carter is a primary ball handler and scorer, but for the Grizzlies carter would not have to do that. He could be on the floor to provide more rest for Mike Conley as the team leans on Mike in the fourth quarter.
Through 9 games for the Hustle:
22 points on 46% shooting and 39% from 3, 3 steals, 5.3 rebounds and 5.8 assists per game.
Yes, it is the G League. No he will not put up 22 points per game in the NBA right now. But Carter would literally have to try to play worse than Selden or Brooks is right now for this team. Carter won’t be the savior of this team, but he could be a solid, steady contributor.
Why Carter and not Watanabe?
Three guard line ups are starting to dominate the NBA right now. All these lineups below contain at least 2 point guards and some 3.
Los Angeles Clippers: M. Teodosic, S. Gilgeous-Alexander, L. Williams, M. Scott, M. Harrell.
This lineup is 6th in the NBA in offensive efficiency.(132.1)
Portland TrailBlazers: D. Lillard, Se. Curry, C. McCollum, A. Aminu, J. Nurkic
2nd in Overall Net Rating (53.7)
Toronto Raptors: F. VanVleet, K. Lowry, D. Green, P.Siakam, S. Ibaka
+30 Overall Net Rating
So the Grizzlies would certainly benefit from attempting lineups with Conley, Mack, and Carter until Dillon returns from injury.
It’s time, Coach Bickerstaff. Unleash Jevon Carter.