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The Week-side Help: Week 16-A Look on the Bright Side

The Week-side Help tries to be optimistic in the dog days of a long season, encouraged by the play of the young Grizzlies

NBA: Memphis Grizzlies at Toronto Raptors Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

Week 16 Results

Phoenix Suns 109 @ Memphis Grizzlies 120 (18-31) Recap | Box Score

Memphis Grizzlies 101 (18-32) @ Indiana Pacers 105 Recap | Box Score

Memphis Grizzlies 102 (18-33) @ Detroit Pistons 104 Recap | Box Score

Memphis Grizzlies 86 (18-34) @ Toronto Raptors 101 Recap | Box Score

Week 16 Storylines

-The Grizzlies will sit Tyreke Evans until they have a suitable trade offer for him, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. A suitable offer is reportedly a first-round pick.

-Memphis wins their first game of the week at home, but lose the next three on the road, finishing the week 1-3.

-Required Reading: GBB’s Jack Noonan analyzes the rise of young bigs for the Grizzlies like Ivan Rabb and Deyonta Davis and how they fit into the franchise’s future | McCarty Maxwell tries to pin down exactly what the Grizzlies should be looking for when they’re on the clock in the 2018 NBA Draft.

Week 16 Thoughts

-I’m going to try and be positive this week. This is such a long, long, season. We’ve only just recently passed the halfway mark of the season. As much as I could, it’s exhausting being negative all the time. The Grizzlies have given me plenty of ammo to be negative, but you know what? This week was kind of fun. So no complaining from me this week.

-I’m glad that Memphis is committed to moving Tyreke Evans. He can help a lot of different playoff teams this spring and he can really help out the Grizzlies by bringing back another first-round pick.

-I genuinely loved Tyreke in Memphis. The team was bad, so he didn’t get the national recognition he deserved, but 2017-18 felt like the season where Tyreke got to put everything together. I hope he kills it on his next team.

-Man, it’s awesome that Deyonta Davis invented dunking lob passes. The first ever to do it, don’t look it up.

-Memphis had a legit good performance against Phoenix on Monday. It was their third-highest offensive rating of the season as well as their highest true shooting percentage.

NBA: Phoenix Suns at Memphis Grizzlies Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

-Only two players who logged minutes that night shot below 50%. Myke Henry (who shot just three times) and Jarell Martin.

-Wayne Selden Jr. can be really good. I’m not just saying that either to be positive, I mean it. He’s already a plus-defender and recently he’s been able to have some hot shooting nights. His 31-point outburst against the Pelicans and his takeover of the Pacers’ game was so fun to watch.

-Seriously, he almost willed the Grizzlies to a win that they shouldn’t have had at all. Memphis only suited up 8 players with their constantly stacked injury report, and yet a guy who has yet to log 600 minutes in his NBA career almost won it for us.

-As the season ends up relying more on young guys, the more I think I’ll be happy watching them play. The Grizzlies might not be better in the final stretch of the season, but knowing young players are developing and playing with heart is a lot better than watching a team with no future hope flounder.

Official Permanent Lottery Watch of the Week

2/4 NBA Lottery Update via tankathon.com

Memphis slips again in the lottery despite just a .250 week. It just goes to show you how really bad you have to be to cement yourself in the top-5 of the lottery. Just 2.5 games separates #8 and #1. Anyone could finish with the best ping pong balls at this point.

Truth be told, there aren’t any historically bad teams this year and thus, everything is condensed. Before the Sixers’ #process started working and before the Brooklyn Nets started to look like an actual NBA team on occasion, you could count on those two soaking up losses and holding the top two spots. Now? Orlando, Sacramento, and Phoenix probably have the worst talent-coach combination, but they aren’t pulling away from the pack like the Sixers used to.

The Grizzlies moving on from Tyreke Evans would be a hell of an effort to climb up the rankings, but how effective will it be? The young guys have played as well as they could in the opportunities given to them and they might end up pulling out a couple of wins on their own! Wayne Selden was close to doing it against the Pacers, why can’t it happen later in the year? The Grizzlies are in the middle of the lottery and I can’t quite figure out which direction they’ll head in. It’s safe to assume that the Grizzlies will rack up losses since they’re still a bad team, but I don’t know if they’ll be able to do so at a higher pace than those ahead of them.

Prospect of the Week: Mikal Bridges, G/F Villanova

If you’re all about youth and potential, this pick won’t be for you. Some NBA fans are scared off of their team drafting any college player that stayed for more than a year, but drafting a senior? Criminal!

Well, Mikal Bridges might be worth it. The 6’7 210 pound wing is a fantastic perimeter defender with a freakish 7’1 wingspan. He plays like he already knows what the opposing offense wants to do, then shuts it down. Bridges is also a fantastic team defender. A lot of young players are good on one-on-one defense because a lot of it relies on just effort and athleticism. But a high basketball IQ is necessary to play well and execute a defensive scheme.

He’s not too shabby on the offensive end, either. Bridges’ shooting splits this season: .502/.429/.824 while averaging 19.4 points per game. Nearly half of his shots are three-pointers too, so he takes a high-enough amount of those attempts for such a high percentage to register.

I’m a fan of his as a prospect and because of his seemingly lower potential, he’ll be available in the bottom-half of the lottery, if the Grizzlies do end up slipping in the lottery or draw an unfavorable pick on lottery night, Mikal Bridges would be a HELL of a consolation prize.

Week 17 Schedule and Preview

Memphis Grizzlies @ Atlanta Hawks Tues. Feb 6th 7:30 ET/6:30 CT

Utah Jazz @ Memphis Grizzlies Weds. Feb 7th 8:00 ET/7:00 CT

Memphis Grizzlies @ Oklahoma City Thunder Sun. Feb 10th 7:00 ET/6:00 CT

Hoo baby. The Atlanta Hawks have been one of the elite tanking teams this year. The loser of Hawks-Grizzlies tomorrow night can guarantee themselves a two-game swing in the difference between their lottery spots. The Hawks don’t have many wins on the season, so giving them an extra one will be beneficial for the Grizzlies’ lottery chances.

The following night, Memphis will play the Utah Jazz, a team better than their record indicates. They’ve faced the strongest schedule all year by winning percentage and have been dealing with injuries to Rudy Gobert and Rodney Hood, among others, throughout the season.

NBA: Utah Jazz at Phoenix Suns Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Donovan Mitchell has been quite a find for Utah, however, and provides more proof that there is talent to be had outside of the top-3 of the draft. He’s a serious rookie-of-the-year candidate and really only has Ben Simmons to compete with for the award. He’s a good defender, ball-handler, and shooter. He can play both guard positions and can take over a game, as evident by his game against Phoenix.

Meanwhile, the Thunder have gotten a lot better since our previous match-up. Andre Roberson has been lost for the year, which is a huge blow to their defense, but they have plenty of talent to compensate. Paul George has been a legit Defensive Player of the Year candidate and has helped lead them to a top-5 defense in the league. As much as I’m not a fan, Russell Westbrook is still very good. The Thunder have lost three in a row, and three of their last four since losing Roberson, but I trust they will have no problem with the Grizzlies.

Have a good week, Memphis.

Follow @sbnGrizzlies