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The Week-side Help: Week 23 - A Low Point

Memphis hits the tankiest tanking mark of the season.

NBA: Memphis Grizzlies at Philadelphia 76ers Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Week 23 Results

Memphis Grizzlies 115 (19-51) @ Brooklyn Nets 118 Recap | Box Score

Memphis Grizzlies 105 (19-52) @ Philadelphia 76ers 119 Recap | Box Score

Memphis Grizzlies 79 (19-53) @ Charlotte Hornets Recap | Box Score

Los Angeles Lakers 100 @ Memphis Grizzlies 93 (19-54) Recap | Box Score

Week 23 Storylines

-Memphis started a new losing streak, losing all four games this week.

-One of those losses was a 61-point loss to the Hornets, the 4th worst defeat in the shot clock era.

-The Grizzlies signed G Marquis Teague to a 10-day contract, first reported by The Vertical’s Shams Charania. Teague has started 47 games for the G-League Memphis Hustle this season.

-Required Reading: GBB’s Joe Mullinax righteously (and deservedly) roasts the Grizzlies for a disgusting effort against the Charlotte Hornets

Week 23 Thoughts

-Marc Gasol not getting called for more technical fouls is genuinely surprising. Just sayin’.

-I wasn’t mad at the Hornets loss, I thought it was funny. I was actually laughing the whole time. Just kidding. I was also very mad.

-That was without a doubt the worst basketball I’ve ever seen. If you didn’t watch this game, bless your soul I’m going to catch you up. If you did watch this game, I’m sorry. Seriously, I thought the game at Washington was the worst of the season. I was wrong. Because this was historically bad.

-Memphis didn’t care one bit against Charlotte. Like, not even close. They didn’t bother checking fast breaks, they didn’t bother making rotations on defense, they just knew the game was over from the jump.

-This is the four factors box score. Do with it what you will:

Four Factors @ CHA via basketball-reference.com

-The Hornets game was a perfect representation of this season. It clearly displayed the talent disadvantage the Grizzlies suffer every night, every game. Despite the team still being 19-54, they outperform their talent because this roster is the least-talented in the league. Memphis got what was coming to them,

-I know that you don’t wanna injure your players this late in the season, but Charlotte isn’t making the playoffs, anyway. Why not let Kemba break the franchise record of 52? Why stop there? Why not break the record margin of victory of 68 and defeat the Grizzlies by a nice score like 69? Such a shame, Charlotte.

-With the addition of Marquis Teague to the main roster, this team is encroaching on the 2015-16 Grizzlies roster size. That team had 28 players log minutes while this year’s iteration will have 22 once Teague plays.

-The Lakers game was an honest-to-goodness great effort. Maybe the team was properly motivated after an embarrassing try on Wednesday, but they took a loss and looked competitive doing it. For tanking purposes, that’s perfect. For rebuilding purposes, that’s still pretty good. It’s definitely encouraging to see that Memphis is at least capable of trying.

Official Permanent Lottery Watch of the Week

3/25 NBA Lottery Standings via tankathon.com

The Phoenix Suns are peaking at the right time. With only 8 games left in their season, they are cruising on an 11-game losing streak.

Memphis seems to be under the impression that the more points you lose by the more loses it will count for. Unfortunately, the Charlotte game only counts as one loss, although Memphis should appeal to Adam Silver to see if they can change that.

Although it’s still possible for other teams to join the fray, it looks like either Phoenix or Memphis will have the best lottery odds. Memphis has 9 games remaining to Phoenix’s 8 and they each have 19 wins. The Grizzlies’ best opportunity for a win in that span is just one game against the Sacramento Kings as the rest are against average-to-good teams. The Suns’ best opportunity appears to also be the Kings, but they also end the season with a match-up against the Dallas Mavericks. This lottery watch continues to go down to the wire and is the only thing that brings me joy. Go Grizzlies.

Prospect of the Week: G Trae Young, Fr., Oklahoma

Trae Young’s 2017-2018 was a tale of two seasons. It seems that before New Years’ Trae Young had the world in the palm of his hand, and afterwards he was just another player. That was the perception at least, because he still put up crazy numbers.

In 2017, Trae averaged 29.6 PPG on .475/.413/.856 shooting and 10.7 APG. Crazy production and efficiency. In 2018, 26.1 PPG on .394/.330/.865 and 7.5 APG. Production, but disgusting inefficiency. While he was a rocket out of nowhere the first half of the season, defenses really keyed in on him and forced his teammates to beat them.

Trae Young’s talent didn’t just disappear, though. He’ll have to prove consistency with shooting if he’s going to have a stretch of shooting as bad as 2018, but he’s incredible as a shooter and underrated as a passer. I called him Trae Fredette on Twitter when Oklahoma got bounced by URI. I don’t think he’ll be that bad in the NBA, but he isn’t the perennial All-Star lock that he was at the beginning of the season.

Week 24 Schedule and Preview

Memphis Grizzlies @ Minnesota Timberwolves Mon. Mar 26th 8:00 PM ET/7:00 PM CT

Portland Trail Blazers @ Memphis Grizzlies Weds. Mar 28th 8:00 PM ET/7:00 PM CT

Memphis Grizzlies @ Utah Jazz Fri. Mar 30th 9:00 PM ET/8:00 PM CT

Memphis Grizzlies @ Portland Trail Blazers Sun. Apr 1st 9:00 PM ET/8:00 PM CT

This is a legitimately tough stretch of games for any team in the league, let alone Memphis.

The Timberwolves haven’t been the dominant team they were before the Jimmy Butler injury, but they still have talent. Even if Andrew Wiggins is reportedly whispering frustrations with being a third option, he’s a pretty good third option, bumped up to second without Butler. They have something to fight for. Memphis does not.

The Grizzlies play Portland twice this week and they are quietly playing for the three seed behind Houston and Golden State. I’m not a believer in their playoff hopes, particularly past the first round, but they’ve been playing some good ball since the All-Star break. In fact, they just lost their first game since the break last Tuesday. They went an entire month without losing. The same month that the Grizzlies went without winning. Neat.

Meanwhile, Memphis will travel to Utah to play the Jazz, another team on the upswing, on Friday night. They are fighting for a playoff spot behind Donovan Mitchell, who continues to impress night in and night out. He hit huge shot after huge shot to keep the game close against the Spurs, even if they did fall short. He’s going to be a star in this league.

Gear up, Memphis fans. We got 9 games left of misery to endure. You can do this.

Have a good week, Memphis.

Follow @sbnGrizzlies