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The Week-side Help: Week 24 - Mediocre never felt so...good?

Recapping the first .500 week for the Grizzlies since mid-January

NBA: Portland Trail Blazers at Memphis Grizzlies Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

Week 24 Results

Memphis Grizzlies 101 (20-54) @ Minnesota Timberwolves 93 Recap | Box Score

Portland Trail Blazers 103 @ Memphis Grizzlies 108 (21-54) Recap | Box Score

Memphis Grizzlies 97 (21-55) @ Utah Jazz 107 Recap | Box Score

Memphis Grizzlies 98 (21-56) @ Portland Trail Blazers 113 Recap | Box Score

Week 24 Storylines

-At Least .500: The Grizzlies go 2-2 on the week, the first time they’ve been .500 or better in a week since Week 14 (January 15-21)

-Memphis signed G MarShon Brooks to a 10-day contract, first reported by The Vertical’s Shams Charania. The Grizzlies waived Brice Johnson to make roster space.

-Brooks then scored 21 and 24 points in his first two games with the team.

-Required Reading: GBB’s Brandon Abraham has reported on the Memphis Hustle dutifully all year, and it culminated in the final Hustle Report of the season, a weekly recap of all things Memphis Hustle. | GBB’s Site Manager Joe Mullinax takes a look at the top prospects in the 2018 draft and tells us how they can be uniquely utilized in Memphis. | And finally, GBB’s Colin Griffith analyzes the strong stretch of play from Dillon Brooks and how he’s broken through the rookie wall

Week 24 Thoughts

-Players like MarShon Brooks is what rebuilding is about. It’s only been three game and the shoe could drop at any moment. Taking flyers on young talent and just finding out what works is an arduous process, but it’s necessary in filling out a roster on a bad team. You need SOMEONE to be excited about going forward.

-MarShon Brooks has legit been good in the very limited time he’s played. 22.5 points a night on 60% shooting, including 3 three-pointers a game. I don’t know how I’ve become so easily won over, but I’m happy.

-A little late in the season, but I’ve become really proud of how the young players on this team have played together. Wayne Selden Jr. and Dillon Brooks have asserted themselves as the best wings on this team. Maybe the James Ennis trade was beneficial in allowing them time and room to flourish, but I still wasn’t a fan of giving up Ennis.

-Marc Gasol sitting the 4th quarter of the Jazz game was clearly tanking. I don’t care, but how do people who are pro-Bickerstaff feel about that? I feel like all the reasons to support Bickerstaff are all the reasons not to bench your best player in winning time. But that’s none of my business.

-The real April Fool was me for watching that Grizzlies-Trail Blazers game, folks. Bad jokes aside, I got got on a fake Stan Van Gundy-got-fired story yesterday. I thought I was better than this (I’m not).

-I like the whole idea of “playing Jarell Martin at his actual position.” Real revolutionary stuff by Bickerstaff

-Teague-Selden-Brooks-Rabb-Davis might be the youngest lineup to play in the league this season. Also might not beat Villanova if they played them tonight in the championship game.

Official Permanent Lottery Watch of the Week

4/1 NBA Lottery Standings via tankathon.com

I blame MarShon Brooks. We were doing JUST FINE until he came along and started with his scoring shenanigans. 22.5 ppg on 60% shooting? In this season? No thank you Brooks. But please sign with us going forward.

But those two wins this week have probably clinched the #1 pre-lottery spot for the Phoenix Suns. They’ve been a special kind of bad this year and have been rewarded for it. Deandre Ayton could be staying in the state of Arizona.

Unless Phoenix goes on a winning streak, I imagine the Grizzlies will be finish somewhere between #2 and #4 in the lottery standings.

Prospect of the Week: G/F, Mikal Bridges, Jr., Villanova

I’ve talked at length about Bridges in the past because I’m a big fan of his. With his second championship game in three years happening tonight, there’s no better time to bring him up again.

With the NBA Draft, I’m usually not a fan of anyone who isn’t a freshman. It’s just better value to go with the younger prospect if all things are equal. But if you aren’t a freshman (or a 20-year old freshman like DeAndre Ayton) you better be really good compared to your classmates. And Mikal Bridges is really good. He shows advanced defensive instincts that can translate to playing in an NBA scheme while also being able to lock a guy up one-on-one.

He can also shoot the basketball quite well. He averages 17.6 points a night on .512/.435/.848 shooting splits. Bridges’ shot looks smooth enough to translate at the next level, but that efficiency would be hard for anyone to maintain in the NBA.

I really like Mikal Bridges. Do I like him enough to use a top-5 pick on him? Probably not, because of the age value I mentioned earlier and how many elite prospects there are in this class. But the Grizzlies tank took a couple of bumps this past week. If we do fall out of the top-5, I’d want Memphis to snatch him up immediately.

Week 25 Schedule and Preview

Memphis Grizzlies @ New Orleans Pelicans Weds. Apr 4th 8:00 PM ET/7:00 PM CT

Sacramento Kings @ Memphis Grizzlies Fri. Apr 6th 8:00 PM ET/7:00 PM CT

Detroit Pistons @ Memphis Grizzlies Sun. Apr 8th 3:30 PM ET/2:30 PM CT

Memphis runs the gamut from playoff team, to lottery team, to meh team.

The Grizzlies also play their final home game of the season this Sunday against the Blake Griffin-Andre Drummond Pistons. It’s been quite a long season.

Anthony Davis will continue his MVP campaign and I don’t think Memphis has anyone to guard him. Marc Gasol can handle himself down low, but I don’t know who is guarding AD’s evolved perimeter game on this roster.

The Kings matchup will be hugely important for the lottery, and Memphis’ best chance for a win the rest of the season. If Memphis manages to lose that contest, they should be solidly in the top-3 considering the lottery.

Reminder that the draft lottery is May 15th. Just six weeks away, and five games to endure until then. After April 12th, Memphis will be done playing basketball but we make that sacrifice for high quality playoff basketball.

It’s been a long season. You’ve endured it this far. Let’s keep pushing until the end (or when we end up with the 8th pick).

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