The season finale went just about as everyone would have thought it would.
The Memphis Grizzlies lost 137-123 to the Oklahoma City Thunder to close out what has been a forgettable year. The major highlight of this game was not even Grizzlies related, as they played another deep lineup of G-League guys. Instead, it was whether Russell Westbrook could get his 16 rebounds, which would mean he would average another season triple double. He made sure he accomplished that goal. Russ was on a mission from tip off, but it was an incredible feat to watch. He had 20 rebounds on the night.
The loss was expected as the Thunder were playing for playoff seeding and started all of their normal five. What was a bit more surprising and made it better to watch was the offensive outburst from both teams. It was a tough game for the Grizzlies, but after this game it could be more of a relief for the fan base. Fans will definitely miss the Grizzlies while watching playoff basketball, but they all deserve a break after the season they had to endure.
Watching this game was an interesting experience. I feel like I know a good majority of faces in the NBA especially with the Grizzlies, but multiple times tonight I had to wait til Pete or Brevin said the name in the broadcast.
Once again, it was the Paul George show as we saw in their last meeting. Another note in this game was Steven Adams just getting to wherever he wanted to on the court. The Grizzlies did not have anyone who could body him up on the active roster in this one. It was their patented everyone is hurt roster.
Now, it’s time to get ready for the draft lottery. Memphis is locked in with the second best odds for the first overall pick, and they cannot have worse than pick number 5.
Now, to team grades.
Kobi Simmons- C+
A positive night for Simmons as the whole team had an offensive explosion. He had 15 points in 33 minutes, but he did not have the best shooting performance going 4-12. All year he has shown flashes at times. More times than not, however, he has just been a step behind the pace of the NBA. He will just need more experience split between the G-League and NBA. Luckily, that is just what he will get as he comes back next year on the two-way deal.
Ben McLemore- C-
What a first season it was with the Grizzlies. In this one, he was a big part of the game plan playing 32 minutes for 14 points going 4-8 from the field. McLemore’s biggest problem is that he thinks he is substantially better than he is. That was the season mentality all year with his down-right awful play throughout the season. The Grizzlies really need to think about waiving him just to clear him off the roster. It is that bad.
Dillon Brooks- A
Now this A isn’t just for tonight. It’s for him sticking out a very tough rookie year. He played all 82 games and has been a bright spot in a very dreadful campaign for the team. Against OKC, he had himself a night scoring a career high 36 points in 33 minutes, along with 7 rebounds. It is going to be a delight seeing Brooks playing good minutes on this team going forward. He was thrown into the deep end right off the bat and adapted wonderfully. The Rook has got game.
Ivan Rabb- B-
While looking very undersized against Steven Adams when they battled in the paint, Rabb actually had a solid game grabbing 13 rebounds and scoring 12 points. He is going to be tested physically his whole career. This season he was a bit under weight, so anyone down low could get position on him whenever. The positives are that he showed some impressive qualities in his first year. With some more development and bulk on him, his game will shine in the league.
Deyonta Davis- D
Again, I am not totally sure what purpose Deyonta Davis serves down low in the trenches. He excels as a rim running, athletic big man, but against any team like the Thunder, he gets bullied down low. Davis played 29 minutes and scored 6 points and gathered in 8 boards. It was the performance we have come accustomed to seeing from him which will not cut it outside of a tanking team in April. Davis is going to have to shape up or get shipped out.
The bench was nothing impressive Wednesday night. They combined for 40 points between four players. With Omari Johnson and Mario Chalmers leading the way with 13 points a piece. MarShon Brooks has regressed to the mean a bit, only scoring 9 points in this contest in 32 minutes of play.
The moral of the story with the bench is that we will not see many of these names that have played for the Grizzlies again. MarShon Brooks inked his deal, and he is the only one of the latest deals that may see playing time for the Grizzlies. Barring another season like this year, Omari Johnson and Myke Henry will not get much playing time with the Grizzlies moving forward.
Welp, that’s it for this season. It is time to forget and move pass this season to get ready for the next with a top-5 talent. Memphis desperately needs to hit on this draft pick. In my opinion, they are still another superstar away even with Marc and Mike back healthy. However, adding a developing talent from the draft will be a great improvement from this year.
It is important for the fans to understand that the Grizzlies are not stuck in a rut like some of the other lottery teams are. They had terrible luck with injuries and have the superstars on the roster to make a statement. Although, that window is closing very quickly. It’ll be a fun next few months.
On to next season.