Week 19 Results
Week 19 Storylines
-Tyreke Evans suffered a non-contact rib injury in Friday’s contest against the Cavaliers. It is unclear what the diagnosis is as of Sunday night. He’s out for Monday’s game against the Celtics.
-The Grizzlies lose their first two games post-All-Star break and have extended their losing streak to 9 games.
-Required Reading: GBB’s Jack Noonan and Mark King broke down the latest news about Robert Pera’s technology company, Ubiquiti Networks, and how it impacts the buy/sell clause of the Grizzlies | Meanwhile, GBB’s Brandon Connor looks at the congested lottery standings and tries to figure out where the Grizzlies will end up.
Week 19 Thoughts
-Phew, good thing the Grizzlies didn’t trade Tyreke. Now instead of a couple of second round picks and/or a young prospect, the Grizzlies front office can just look at Tyreke in street clothes on the bench and say “hope we re-sign him.” Real good planning.
-Seriously, though. I feel for Reke. He’s been having an on-and-off month with his illness, trade rumors, and subsequent falling through of potential deals, and now this rib injury which was weird as hell to see. I just hope he makes a full recovery and that he’s healthy when it comes time to cash in this July.
-Tyreke has been playing his butt off this year. There are plenty of games where he could have mailed in a performance and still, at worst, been our second best player. He could have been frustrated from the non-trade and refused to play, but he still showed up. With him on the sidelines for at least Monday’s game, it may be a great time to rack up losses for the lottery push--not that the Grizzlies were going to rack up wins, anyway.
-I’m not saying Marc Gasol should be benched the rest of the season; that’s insulting to someone who was an All-Star just 12 months ago. But the Grizzlies’ best prospects are big men. Deyonta Davis and Ivan Rabb have real potential. We just got Brice Johnson in a trade and have seen him play a total of four (4) minutes since then.
-Speaking of, I really like Ivan Rabb’s skill usage. Lots of players with his physical profile would be content relying on their athleticism to achieve what they want on the court. Rabb moves well without the ball, is a willing defender, and is skilled as a post passer. I can’t wait to see how his game grows as his basketball IQ increases over the years.
-If you didn’t watch the games this week, lucky you. I hope you spent your time being productive, or doing literally anything else. The first half of the game at Claveland and the second half at Miami may be the two worst halves of basketball across the league all year.
Official Permanent Lottery Watch of the Week
Teams just won’t stop losing. I admire this so much. Sam Hinkie would be proud. None of these teams are giving up an inch in this lottery fight. I spoke last week, and the week before that, on the congestion of the lottery and it hasn’t quit. The Grizzlies have lost 9 games in a row and STILL haven’t moved a spot. NINE.
And to top it all off, the top 8 teams are all riding losing streaks of at least three games. Apparently a generational draft with several franchise-changing talents would have teams motivated to get a good draft pick. Wow.
By the way, if the Grizzlies win this lottery, they should raise Hasheem Thabeet’s number like Philly fans did with Sam Hinkie. Because Chris Wallace doesn’t deserve it.
Prospect of the Week: F Michael Porter Jr., Fr. Missouri
I’ve been avoiding talking about or even having an opinion on Michael Porter, Jr. He hasn’t played a second of college basketball because of his back injury and I frankly have no clue how he’s going to look when he comes back. But he’s a consensus top-five prospect and was a consensus top-two prospect before his injury and Deandre Ayton’s domination. We need to know about him.
What we do know is that he’s an incredibly skilled, 6’10” wing with tremendous scoring ability. He has the body type and skill set of Kevin Durant coming out of college. The problem is that we don’t know if it’ll translate to the college level, let alone the NBA. With his back injury and lack of exposure, he may be a boom-or-bust pick in the draft. For a team like the Grizzlies, he may be worth the large risk.
Week 20 Schedule and Preview
Memphis Grizzlies @ Boston Celtics Mon. Feb 26th 7:30 PM ET/6:30 PM CT
Phoenix Suns @ Memphis Grizzlies Weds. Feb 28th 8:00 PM ET/7:00 PM CT
Denver Nuggets @ Memphis Grizzlies Fri. Mar 1st 8:00 PM ET/7:00 PM CT
Memphis Grizzlies @ Orlando Magic Sat. Mar 2nd 7:00 PM ET/6:00 PM CT
The Grizzlies play two good teams in Boston and Denver. Boston looked like they were the new top team in the East in the first half of the season, but they struggled going into the All-Star break. Since then, they’ve won two games convincingly. With Marcus Smart back healthy, they look to be back at full strength--save for Gordon Hayward, whose absence can’t really count against them because he’s played six (6) minutes all year.
Memphis lost both of their previous matchups against Denver and I have no reason to believe they won’t lose the third. They have one of the best offenses in the league and a deep roster even without Paul Millsap. They may make light work of the Grizzlies’ defense which has been leaking like a sieve.
But the most important games this week come against Phoenix and Orlando. With SO many teams at the top of the lottery, this is as good a time as any to separate yourself. Both teams are ahead of Memphis on tiebreakers, so Memphis will flat-out need more losses than them to pass them in the lottery standings. If Tyreke isn’t going to be playing, that might be too easy to do. Altered expectations are fun, aren’t they?
Have a good week, Memphis.