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The Week-side Help - Week 17: Congratulations, you played yourself

The Week-side Help looks for answers after trading James Ennis, not trading Tyreke Evans, and losing six in a row.

NBA: FEB 11 Grizzlies at Thunder Photo by Torrey Purvey/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Week 17 Results

Memphis Grizzlies 82 (18-35) @ Atlanta Hawks 108 Recap | Box Score

Utah Jazz 92 @ Memphis Grizzlies 88 (18-36) Recap | Box Score

Memphis Grizzlies 92 (18-37) @ Oklahoma City Thunder 110 Recap | Box Score

Week 17 Storylines

-Memphis did not trade Tyreke Evans before last Thursday’s trade deadline. Multiple offers were reportedly on the table.

-Memphis traded James Ennis to the Detroit Pistons for PF Brice Johnson and a 2022 2nd-round pick.

-Memphis bought out the contract of Brandan Wright, and he has agreed to a deal with the Houston Rockets.

-Memphis goes winless on the week, extending their losing streak to 6 games.

-Required Reading: GBB’s Mark King had an excellent post this week pleading for the Grizzlies to treat their fan-base to a competent front office

Week 17 Thoughts

-Are you surprised at all? Did you believe that the Grizzlies would actually trade their most tradeable asset?

-There’s no need to keep Tyreke Evans this year. This team isn’t making the playoffs and needs the highest draft pick possible. If the plan was to re-sign Reke, they still could have done that if they had traded him. If they had traded Tyreke Evans instead of James Ennis to the Pistons for the same exact deal, I would have been plenty happy.

-Chris Wallace traded Pau Gasol for peanuts and had all the luck in the world when it turned out Marc was a good player. The only good 1st round draft picks Memphis kept were Mike Conley and maybe Jarell Martin if he turns out to be good. This man is the worst executive in the league.

-Chris Wallace is bad at his job. He’s bad at negotiating. He’s bad at drafting, scouting, trading, hiring and retaining coaches, and anything else a GM needs to do other than keep Marc Gasol and Mike Conley. Even then, those contracts are going to be albatrosses by the last years on their respective deals.

-All our GM is good for is letting key role players go (Courtney Lee, Marreese Speights, James Ennis) and having a team that succeeds despite Chris Wallace rather than because of him. Executives around the NBA have been fired for less, and I don’t know another executive that has done less to keep his job.

Memphis Grizzlies Introduce JB Bickerstaff as Head Coach Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images

-Seriously, James Ennis was the one that needed to be traded? He’s a good player in his role, hits open threes, and plays solid defense. He doesn’t need the ball much at all to make an impact and is one of the few versatile players that was on the Memphis roster. But of course, he had to go at all costs while Tyreke Evans is untouchable for anything other than a first rounder.

-The good news is, even though Tyreke is still on the team and playing (for now), Memphis is still very flawed. Even if he continues to ball out, the supporting cast--yes, Marc is a part of the supporting cast--is still fairly weak. Maybe the pipe-dream of the #1 lottery spot would be easily attainable if Reke was traded, but the lottery is jam-packed with plenty of teams close in the standings. More on that later.

-I’m happy for Brandan Wright joining a contender. He had a chance to be a solid backup in Memphis, but he could really never get it going. Injuries suck. Being on a bad team sucks. Hopefully he’ll feel rejuvenated and healthy as the Rockets make a playoff push.

-Mario Chalmers is not good.

-Memphis played as if they did not care at all against Oklahoma City. It was one of the most listless efforts of the season and the defense was atrocious, even without having to guard the reigning MVP Russell Westbrook or hoodless Carmelo Anthony.

-Paul George was far and away the best player on the floor during Sunday’s matchup. It wasn’t even fair how well he could dictate the game while he was on the floor. I’m sure he’s had the ability to be this good a defender for most of his career, but he’s just been stupid good on that end this season. Sunday was another example.

Official Permanent Lottery Watch of the Week

2/11 NBA Lottery standings via tankathon.com

*fans self violently*

Why I do declare, Memphis is making their way back up. After losing 6 in a row, Memphis is just one measly game back from having the best ping pong balls come lottery time. Something to remember about the lottery is that if your selection is not in the top-3, it can have a 3-spot range of where it actually falls. So if the Grizzlies can separate themselves from the pack and have the #1 lottery spot, their worst-case scenario is the #4 pick in the draft. Not too shabby a prize compared to the seemingly inevitable result of the #11 pick.

But the Grizzlies need to stay consistent with their losses to do so. Losing to competing teams like the Hawks is huge progress in the lottery watch. The losses are starting to pile up and the chances an elite prospect comes to Memphis grow even more.

Prospect of the Week: Jaren Jackson Jr., PF from Michigan State

With plenty of big men in the mix for the 2018 draft, Jaren Jackson, Jr. tends to be overlooked behind the big names. DeAndre Ayton and Marvin Bagley have been on draftniks’ radar even before they played a minute of college ball. Even though JJJ was a consensus top-10 recruit from a year ago, his NBA potential hadn’t begun to crystallize.

And that potential looks huge. He’s one of the youngest prospects in this year’s draft; he’ll have been 19 years old for just a month when the 2018-19 NBA season begins. Even at his young age, he’s quite developed physically. He has a Kevin Garnett-like body, great rebounding skills, and a jump-shot that’s inconsistent, but has potential to be at least league-average.

The question is, will he declare? Miles Bridges was considered a lottery pick last year and stayed. Maybe his fellow Spartan will follow suit. Michigan State isn’t known for one-and-dones, so it wouldn’t be the biggest shock if he stayed. If Jaren Jackson does declare, he’ll be an exciting selection.

Week 18 Schedule and Preview

Oklahoma City Thunder @ Memphis Grizzlies Weds. Feb 14th 8:00 ET/7:00 CT

That’s it! The All-Star break will be here come Friday, where Dillon Brooks will be representing the “World” team, but this Thunder game will be the only Grizzlies action all week.

On Sunday night, these two teams played and it only seemed like one actually did. The Thunder weren’t lighting the world on fire with their offense, but they looked like the Harlem Globetrotters compared to Memphis.

The Grizz shot less than 40% from the field and 21% from three-point land. Frankly, no one on Memphis had a good day on the offensive side of the floor. I know Paul George is a good defender, but he wasn’t guarding all five Grizzlies at once. Russell Westbrook and Carmelo Anthony will likely play this go round, which actually might give the Grizzlies a better chance to hit some shots since they’re both minus defenders. Maybe the Grizzlies can actually score up to 100 points!

Have a good week, Memphis.

Follow @sbnGrizzlies