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Season in Review: Not-so-Super Mario Chalmers

Chalmers return wasn’t exactly what Grizzlies fans expected

NBA: Memphis Grizzlies at Denver Nuggets Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Catch up on previous entries in our Season in Review series here.

Mario Chalmers

Season Points per game Assists per game FG % 3 Point FG % Off. Rating Def. Rating PER Usage Win shares per 48 mins
Season Points per game Assists per game FG % 3 Point FG % Off. Rating Def. Rating PER Usage Win shares per 48 mins
2017-2018 7.7 3 37.9% 27.7% 96 110 10.4 19.6% 0.021
Stats provided by basketball-reference.com
Brandon Conner, NBA.com/stats

Mario Chalmers was supposed to be better.

When signed towards the end of the offseason, Grizzlies fans rejoiced thinking they were getting the same player who averaged over 10 points and nearly 4 assists a game in the 2015-2016 season. Unfortunately, Chalmers never seemed to fully recover from his ruptured achilles which ended that season short. Sure, he never missed any games with an Achilles injury, but his on the court play, the worst of his career, shows he may never fully recovered from that issue.

The Grizzlies cut 2016 first round pick Wade Baldwin in favor of Mario Chalmers in training camp in a move that looks even worse now that Baldwin is playing meaningful minutes for the Trail Blazers this postseason. Offensively, Rio shot had a career-worst shooting percentage and he didn’t do much on the defensive end other than commit mind-boggling fouls. It’s never a good thing when you get labeled a “tank commander” in a losing campaign.

Chalmers play just simply wasn’t good this season.

Best Game

NBA: Atlanta Hawks at Memphis Grizzlies Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

Chalmers’ highest scoring game was a 21 point, 6 rebound, 6 assist performance against the the Trail Blazers during the Grizzlies 11-game losing streak, but it wasn’t his best game. Instead, I’m going to go with the game against the Atlanta Hawks on December 15th. Chalmers chipped in 16 points, 3 rebounds and 4 steals in a close win that snapped a 5 game losing streak back when the Grizzlies were still trying to win games. Chalmers dropped 10 points in the 4th helping lead the Grizzlies to a come from behind victory.

If only for a night, Grizz fans had a flashback to the Chalmers of 2016.

Worst Moment

The worst moment of Chalmers season was in the final minute of the early season matchup against the Orlando Magic. Both teams were sitting at 5-2 with nice starts to the season, with the Grizzlies down 100-99 with a minute remaining at home. In that minute, Chalmers turned the ball over. Almost immediately after, Chalmers stole the ball from Terrence Ross, but instead of taking the easy layup, Chalmers slowed down trying to draw a foul on Nikola Vucevic resulting in a missed layup and a (good) no-call from the officials. The next Grizzlies possession, Chalmers tried to redeem himself with a 3 point attempt but it was off the mark. A Terrence Ross free throw in the final seconds would clinch the 101-99 win for the Magic.

It’s rare you can say a single player cost a team a game, but in that game you could certainly argue Chalmers cost the Grizzlies the early season victory.

Things to Improve

NBA: New Orleans Pelicans at Memphis Grizzlies Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

Chalmers will need to improve offensively if he wants to keep his comeback dreams alive. Rio’s shooting numbers were absolutely terrible this season, even for a guard not known for his shooting abilities. Chalmers also turned the ball over 3 times per 36 minutes which is a career high. Rio just made too many mental mistakes on the offensive end, especially for a point guard.

Rio will be 32 next season and didn’t do much this past season for another team to take a flyer on him. If he’s lucky, he can get a training camp invite to wherever Lebron ends up. If he gets another chance, he’ll need to make sure he’s blocked out the mental mistakes and can get back to putting the ball in the hoop at a somewhat efficient rate.

Overall Season Grade

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

Chalmers grade really depends on your view of the season. He was a vital part to the Grizzlies losing efforts and for that we thank him. But from an individual perspective this season was a disaster for Chalmers. Chalmers was mostly relegated to bench duty and only played when necessary due to injuries, although it is worth noting Chalmers missed time as well with “injuries” as well.

Chalmers season, on a personal level, was very bad. Andrew Harrison’s growth helped the Grizzlies, but it also showed how bad Chalmers was. Throw in the fact that Wade Baldwin, who was cut essentially for Chalmers and is an X-factor for the Trail Blazers this postseason after he dominated the G-League, and the decision to sign Chalmers looks horrible. At the end of the season, Chalmers was a waste of a roster spot and money since keeping him made his contract guaranteed.

It was a forgettable season for Chalmers. Here’s to hoping he gets a chance next season somewhere that isn’t Memphis to bounce back.

Grade: F

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