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The Week-side Help: Week 20 - Bad at Basketball, Good at Losing

After losing 13 games in a row, The Week-side Help asks what Grizzlies are replaceable, shares offensive offensive numbers, and celebrates the lottery holy land

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

Week 20 Results

Memphis Grizzlies 98 (18-41) @ Boston Celtics 109 Recap | Box Score

Phoenix Suns 110 @ Memphis Grizzlies 102 (18-42) Recap | Box Score

Denver Nuggets 108 @ Memphis Grizzlies 102 (18-43) Recap | Box Score

Memphis Grizzlies 100 @ Orlando Magic 107 (18-44) Recap | Box Score

Week 20 Storylines

-Memphis loses all four games in the week, extending their losing streak to 13 games.

-The Grizzlies have signed Xavier Rathan-Mayes to a 10-day contract, first reported by The Vertical’s Shams Charania.

-Marc Gasol expressed his frustration over the losing season to reporters after Monday’s loss to Boston: “This is the NBA, not the G-League” Gasol said while claiming the Grizzlies should prioritize winning games, not developing players.

-Chandler Parsons made his return to the lineup Saturday against the Orlando Magic, notching 4 points on 2-6 shooting in 13 minutes of play.

-Required Reading: GBB’s own McCarty Maxwell attempts to see the future and determine what the Memphis Grizzlies will look like in 2018-19 and beyond. | GBB’s own Joe Mullinax analyzes the performance Interim Head Coach J.B. Bickerstaff has put in this season, and how much blame he’s earned for the loss-heavy season.

Week 20 Thoughts

-13 losses in a row has got to be a low-point, right? RIGHT?! At this point, if the Grizzlies go undefeated the rest of the way, they’ll end up 38-44. It’s almost quite literally meaningless to win any more games.

-Ending the year on a 43-game losing streak would be history, for sure.

-Memphis has an offensive rating of 95.6 during the 13-game losing streak. The worst offensive rating in the league in that span. The worst net-rating in that span (-14.3). And the worst effective field goal percentage (47.2%) in that span. Bad. Bad team.

-More random, bad numbers: The Grizzlies are worst in the league during their losing streak in assist-to-turnover ratio. During the entire season, they leap all the way to 3rd-worst in the league. Marc Gasol has played 11 of 13 games during the streak. He’s been shooting 38.9% from the field during that span. YIKES.

NBA: Memphis Grizzlies at Orlando Magic Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

-Memphis’ defense has been okay for their talent level, even though it’s still middling overall (19th in defensive rating). However, there’s no scheme or play that can overcome the poor offensive talent on this team. Teams that play above their means like the Heat and Celtics have a great defense, but average offenses because of their talent levels. The Grizzlies are a much, much, worse version of those teams.

-There was like a five minute stretch in the Suns game where JaMychal Green looked like Bill Russell, which was fun. Side note: JaMychal Green is more athletic than everyone and anyone Bill Russell played with or against.

-How replaceable is this roster? Mike Conley, Marc Gasol, Tyreke Evans, and maybe a healthy Chandler Parsons are the only ones who have proven consistent production, well, at all in their careers. JaMychal Green is solid, but does he really move the needle for a team this bad?

-I ask the question because your answer might determine how aggressive this re-build should be. In three years, if everyone on this roster is gone, would it be the worst? What about two years? One year? Deyonta Davis and Ivan Rabb have shown flashes. I’m a fan of Andrew Harrison. But if parting with our young core is necessary to go scorched earth on this rebuild, I wouldn’t be upset. There might not be a less attractive young core in the NBA.

NBA: Memphis Grizzlies at Boston Celtics Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

-I was really happy for Jarell Martin’s solid game against Denver on Friday. He’s an incredible athlete, but there are plenty of those in the league. Once the game starts coming to him and his basketball IQ naturally progresses, he can be a force. But that progression comes with a giant Grizz-sized “if.”

-I did not watch the Memphis @ Orlando barn-burner. I do not feel bad about this. I will make no effort to catch up on whatever happened in that game.

-Sorry, just happened to see the box score to that Orlando game and saw Ben McLemore logged THIRTY-EIGHT MINUTES. I’ve never appreciated a blatantly obvious tanking move as I do this.

Official Permanent Lottery Watch of the Week

3/4 NBA Lottery Standings via tankathon.com

WEEEEE ARE THE CHAMPIONS. WEEEEEE AAAAAARE THE CHAAAAMPIONS. NOOOOO TIME FOR LOOOOSERS.

Actually, there’s plenty of time for losing. Almost a month and a half straight worth of losing. Which has lead to our coup-de-grace: the number 1 lottery spot. All the spot does is guarantee a top-4 pick, but that’s a hell of a guarantee compared to the alternatives of a middling lottery pick. And the Grizzlies staying in that #1 spot is far from a sure thing, itself. The same congestion that has led Memphis into landing in the prized spot can put them back at #6 or #7 this time next week.

What’s important is not getting too high or too low with each passing week’s updates because of how volatile the situation is. Just ignore the AYTON FAN 4 LIFE tattoo I got on my chest this week and let’s all move on with our lives.

Prospect of the Week: C Deandre Ayton, Fr. Arizona

Speaking of Ayton, now that Memphis is at the top of the lottery, it’s time to re-familiarize yourself with the best prospect of the draft. He’s been in the news lately because of the “scandal” that resulted in labor being paid for their work, but that shouldn’t, and won’t matter in the NBA.

Deandre Ayton continues to impress this season. Without shooting many threes or mid-range shots, DeAndre is shooting 61.6% from the field, averaging 19.9 PPG, 11.4 RPG, and 2 BPG. He already has an NBA body, much larger and stronger than other big men prospects in this class. No one else has his combination of size and strength in this class, and Jaren Jackson Jr. may be the closest in terms of matching his complete skill set. Ayton could be the next young big man to join the Karl-Anthony Towns, Anthony Davis, and Joel Embiid class of elite 7-footers. I think he’s that special. My calling Ayton the best prospect is no negative indicator on Luka Doncic, the other #1 prospect on most draft big boards. I just think Deandre Ayton is THAT good.

Week 21 Schedule and Preview

Memphis Grizzlies @ San Antonio Spurs Mon. Mar 5th, 8:30 PM ET/7:30 PM CT

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

Utah Jazz @ Memphis Grizzlies Fri. Mar 9th 8:00 PM ET/7:00 PM CT

Memphis Grizzlies @ Dallas Mavericks Sat. Mar 10th 8:30 PM ET/7:00 PM CT

Buzzsaw. Pillow fight. Buzzsaw. Pillow fight.

Another week of alternating between playoff-caliber teams and bottom-feeders. I don’t think the competition level is going to matter too much in terms of end results. It might just end up changing the margin of victory for the opposing teams.

But the match-ups against the Bulls and Mavericks are important for the same reason the games against the Suns and Magic were important. Lottery standings, bay-beh.

There’s quite a bit of cushion between Memphis and Chicago, but you can never have too much cushion when it comes to the standings, playoff or lottery. Chicago has the opposite team Memphis has: young and full of potential. Zach Lavine is back from his ACL tear, Kris Dunn is coming onto his own after a horrible rookie season, and Lauri Markkanen has impressed. Don’t get me wrong, Chicago is still very bad. And worse now that they’ve traded Nikola Mirotic and committed to playing Cameron Payne.

Dallas has succeeded in the past in playing above their means because Rick Carlisle is a great coach and Dirk Nowitzki is a hall-of-fame player and presence. Yet, Carlisle is not that good and Dirk is not his old self. The Mavericks are an odd collection of players and talents and there’s only so much they can do with a rookie PG and Harrison Barnes as your best player. Another tankapalooza on your fine Saturday night, I hope you didn’t have plans.

Have a good week, Memphis.

Follow @sbnGrizzlies