Week 18 Results
Week 18 Storylines
-Memphis lost their 7th game in a row after losing their only game of the week.
-Required Reading: GBB’s Grace Baker makes the claim that GM Chris Wallace needs to go, with plenty of reasons why | GBB’s Jack Noonan provided a great introduction to several elite draft prospects the Grizzlies could target in June | and GBB’s Brandon Abraham examines how the Tyreke Evans situation went from inevitable trade to a blame game.
Week 18 Thoughts
-Andrew Harrison scoring a career-high in a loss is extremely satisfying to me, a tanker who stans for Drew.
-Andrew Harrison went scored 28 points on 16 shots and went 5-5 from three in just 33 minutes because of some questionable foul calls, which culminated in his ejection. Booooooo.
-I really can’t believe Russell Westbrook won MVP playing the away he does. It was a year ago and I’m still salty. How much do stats matter if you’re sacrificing a ton of defense and your teammates to accumulate them?
-I hate complaining about refs, but they did a poor job in the game against the Thunder. But please don’t get it twisted that this means the refs don’t care about Memphis or small-market teams. It’s one of my least favorite Twitter arguments. If the NBA or refs only cared about big market teams, the Knicks would be a hell of a lot better the past 20 years than they were.
-So only one game, huh? Well, uh, this concludes Week 18 thoughts.
Official Permanent Lottery Watch of the Week
It turns out that losing 7 in a row is in fact, good if you want to tank. But man oh man the congestion at the top is so bad, Memphis somehow dropped a spot in the lottery to #6.
Seriously, this logjam is nuts. I don’t know what to make of it going forward. If anything, the race for the #1 lottery spot might be more exciting than any race for a #1 seed in the playoffs. There are maybe five teams competing for two #1 seeds and maybe three teams that actually care about it. But there are SEVEN teams who are just 1.5 games back or less from the best ping pong balls come May.
The Grizzlies went into the All-Star break on fire losing 7 in a row. If they can keep up that momentum, the congestion at the top won’t matter. Let’s just keep at it, one game at a time.
Prospect of the Week: Wendell Carter Jr., Fr. Duke University
Wendell Carter Jr. is, quite literally, the biggest prospect in this year’s draft. He’s listed at 6’10” (7’3” wingspan) and 257 lbs, larger than the listed weight of most, if not all, draftable players in 2018. He’s got size and great defensive ability. He notches 2 blocks a game and snags almost 10 rebounds a game despite playing next to fellow draft prospect Marvin Bagley III. Not to mention, Wendell Carter Jr. shoots 60.3% from the field and 47.1% from three on almost two attempts from downtown a game. I’d like to see him shoot more from deep to see if that’s sustainable, but he has at least shown it’s possible.
Both Duke big men are likely going in the top-10 of this year’s draft, but if Memphis picks one it will almost solely be based on how the lottery played out. Did Memphis get a top-5 pick? Wendell Carter Jr. isn’t good value there, so he’ll be out of the question, but Bagley is certainly an option, maybe even option #1 depending on how things fall. But if Memphis is in the bottom half of the lottery, Carter Jr. would be great value considering the PF/C draft prospects takes a nosedive after the lottery.
Week 19 Schedule and Preview
Cleveland Cavaliers @ Memphis Grizzlies Fri. Feb 23rd 8:00 PM/7:00 CT
Memphis Grizzlies @ Miami Heat Sat. Feb 24th 7:30 PM ET/6:30 CT
The new-look Cavaliers come to town on Friday a tad scarier than they were before the trade deadline. You could argue if you want that George Hill, Rodney Hood, Jordan Clarkson, Larry Nance Jr aren’t as good as the players and picks Cleveland gave up to acquire them. But that’s not the point. The Cavaliers don’t need more talent when they have LeBron, they need the right talent.
The ideal LeBron teammate can hit threes on occasion, has above-average athleticism, and defend their position if not a couple more. Isaiah Thomas, Channing Frye, Iman Shumpert, and Dwyane Wade weren’t providing any of those benchmarks. The team felt stale and the front office switched things up to bring more life and more youth to the team. It’s worked as they’ve looked good in the incredibly small sample size thus far.
The very next night, Memphis will travel to LeBron’s former stomping grounds, Miami. They have the 6th best defensive efficiency in the league, but the 6th worst offensive efficiency. Another indicator that good defense can come with basketball IQ, effort, and good coaching. But a good offense needs all of the above and dynamic, elite talent. Goran Dragic is technically a 2018 All-Star, but he’s averaging 17.4/4.7/4.0 on 44% shooting. Tyreke Evans is averaging 19.5/5.0/5.1 on 45% shooting, for context.
Have a good week, Memphis.