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The Week-side Help: Week 21 - Hell is Hot and Losing Hurts

You’re not gonna believe this, but the Grizzlies spent the last week losing all of their games

NBA: Memphis Grizzlies at Dallas Mavericks Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Week 21 Results

Memphis Grizzlies 98 (18-45) @ San Antonio Spurs 100 Recap | Box Score

Memphis Grizzlies 110 (18-46) @ Chicago Bulls 119 Recap | Box Score

Utah Jazz 95 @ Memphis Grizzlies 78 (18-47) Recap | Box Score

Memphis Grizzlies 80 (18-48) @ Dallas Mavericks 114 Recap | Box Score

Week 21 Storylines

-Another winless week for the Grizzlies as their losing streak extends to 17 games.

-Nothing else, just the losing, really.

-Required reading: While the horrors of this season are fresh in our minds, GBB’s Joe Mullinax reminds us that the past success of the Grizzlies can still be possible in the future. | As Memphis’ listless offense has caused trouble over the years, it has truly come home to roost as the catalyst for a 17 game losing streak, argues GBB’s Brandon Connor.

Week 21 Thoughts

-There’s no way J.B. Bickerstaff can be the full-time head coach after a 17-game losing streak...right?

-Please say I’m right.

-Okay, so, bear with me here. But the longest losing streak of all-time belongs to the 2014-2016 Philadelphia 76ers who lost 28 consecutive games over the course of two seasons. The longest losing streak in a single season, however, belongs to the 2010-11 Cavaliers and the 2013-14 76ers who lost 26 games in row.

-If the Grizzlies are to get that record, they need to lose against: MIL, CHI, DEN, @ BKN, @ PHI, @ CHO, LAL, @ MIN, POR. Chicago and Brooklyn might be the only two speed bumps on the way to history, but I have faith in this Memphis team to lose in the most trainwreck way possible every game out.

-Expect Memphis to get some sort of sternly-worded email about resting Marc Gasol on Saturday, but it doesn’t matter. The NBA isn’t going to do anything about tanking. They haven’t before, they won’t now, especially because well it’s the freakin Grizzlies and I don’t think anyone in the Commissioner’s office even knows that they exist.

-Remember when Tyreke Evans was “day-to-day” with his injury? Yeah, me too. I’m glad he isn’t pushing himself for a pointless effort, but this has got to be another tanking move. They are full steam ahead on that front.

-JaMychal Green is our second-best player right now and I’m not entirely sure he’d be a starter on any other team. But recently, he’s been playing pretty well for himself. He’s showing real effort on defense, something that is rare on an 18-48 team. Over the last 10 games, he’s averaging 11.4 ppg and 10.0 rpg on 43%/35%/82% shooting splits. He’s had off nights which have impacted on those shooting numbers--2/12 against Orlando and 1/8 against Utah--but at least his play has shown to have a really high floor. His 2 year, $17 million deal this past summer looks like great value.

-I am including the following screenshot so that the Week-side Help will forever immortalize one of the tankiest tanking lineups it has ever seen:

Tankapalooza
basketball-reference.com

-Cursed image, that is.

-Remember that time Memphis scored 30 points in the first half against the Mavericks this Saturday? Bad.

-In the months of January and February, Ben McLemore played a total of 241 minutes. In the month of March, McLemore has already logged 169 (1nice) minutes. March isn’t even halfway over.

-What’s more insulting to Ben McLemore: only getting real minutes when the team is trying to lose games or having Kobe Bryant ignore only him for his Mamba Challenge request. Please, Kobe, he’s still waiting.

-Okay, but seriously about the Bickerstaff thing, I’m right, right?

Official Permanent Lottery Watch of the Week

3/11 NBA Lottery Standings via tankathon.com
tankathon.com

A hint of separation among the top 8 Turns out no one in the league is bad enough to keep up with a 17-game losing streak, a number that keeps getting more and more ridiculous the more I think about it.

The one team that’s kept up with Memphis stride-for-stride is Phoenix. They’re a superb team for the Great Tank War of 2018. They have just enough young assets to be exciting long-term and give their fans something to cheer for but they’re also losing enough to keep them in the hunt for the #1 pick. Tankathon mocks Luka Doncic to Memphis at 1 and Deandre Ayton to Phoenix at 2, so maybe it won’t matter who has the number one pick if both teams get the “proper” fit for their team.

Memphis is hanging on to the #1 spot by the slimmest of margins, but the pack behind Memphis and Phoenix are at least holding themselves back like true gentlemen.

Prospect of the Week: Luka Doncic, G, Real Madrid

Well, since the Week-side Help is re-visiting prospects, we might as well refamiliarize ourselves with the international man of mystery, Luka Doncic.

I’m not sure how much of a mystery Doncic actually is at this point. You may hear from writers, including yours truly, that international prospects are tougher to project because of the different competition and style of play, but do we even know what we’re projecting with college players? I’m convinced Deandre Ayton is a lock to be at the very least, a great starter in the NBA. Beyond that, I don’t have many definitive declarations for this draft class. Because of that, I don’t understand the extreme statements on Doncic’s future. He doesn’t stand out as a dominant talent earmarked for several All-Star games, but he does look like he can be useful.

Luka’s passing ability, general playmaking, and offensive prowess just might be what it takes for the Grizzlies to play at a faster pace though, to what extent remains a mystery. If Memphis scoops up Honky Tonk BaDoncic Donk (nickname in progress) on draft night, it’ll at least signal an effort in trying to evolve the franchise’s constantly stagnant offense.

Week 22 Schedule

Milwaukee Bucks @ Memphis Grizzlies Mon. Mar 12th 8:00 PM ET/7:00 PM CT

Chicago Bulls @ Memphis Grizzlies Thurs. Mar 15th 8:00 PM ET/7:00 PM CT

Denver Nuggets @ Memphis Grizzlies Sat. Mar 17th 8:00 PM ET/7:00 PM CT

Giannis! Cameron Payne! Jokic! This is a murderer’s row of games. All three teams are juggernauts not to be trifled with this season.

Just kidding, but not really kidding based on how bad the Grizzlies look now. Seriously, there’s no reason to expect Memphis to win any of these games. However, the streak has to end some time. That’s just a fact of life, not an indication that the Grizzlies are good enough to break it on their own.

Sure, the losing streak might get snapped because the opposing team forgot there was a game and didn’t travel to Memphis in time to contest, but it will get snapped!

Memphis is spending the entire week at home, which may help them with consistency and rest, but they’re gonna need a lot of help with x’s and o’s. Both Milwaukee and Denver have incredible offenses led by young talent. Giannis Antetokounmpo might run circles around the Grizzlies if Dillon Brooks and Jarell Martin are the only players guarding him.

The Grizzlies can extend their losing streak to a cool, even 20 games. Which, honestly, would be kinda jarring to see “L20” in the standings. But would it be more jarring than the performance this team has displayed all year? Nope. Go Grizz.

Have a good week, Memphis.

Follow @sbnGrizzlies