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Grizzlies end of season awards - Part 2: The Players

MVP? LVP? Let’s discuss.

NBA: Memphis Grizzlies at Brooklyn Nets Nicole Sweet-USA TODAY Sports

If you missed part 1 of our awards, check them out here.

Is it possible to have a MVP in a 22-60 season?

Sure, why not.

The season ended over a week ago, and the attention has turned from an abysmal campaign for the Memphis Grizzlies toward the steps needed to insure that this type of season doesn’t happen again next year. GBB is knee-deep in draft preparation and looking at the roster’s key pieces moving forward, but we also are in the middle of our Season in Review series (catch up here) and this edition of the Roundtable will focus on the good, bad, and ugly of the season for Memphis.

12 of GBB’s finest participated in the voting on these “awards”. You will see the winners, a brief explanation of why they won from myself and members of the GBB staff, and then who else got votes.

Let’s get back to it taking a look at an award that maybe shouldn’t exist for this year’s team.

The Award for Defensive Player of the Year goes to...

Dillon Brooks!

NBA: Memphis Grizzlies at Minnesota Timberwolves Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

Poor Dillon, right?

Welcome to the NBA, rook. Defend Paul George. LeBron James. Jimmy Butler. Kevin Durant. Brooks often drew the absolute toughest defensive assignments night after night, and even though the numbers aren’t particularly kind to Dillon (113 defensive rating, tied for worst on the team among guys who played at least 1,000 minutes) it is important to keep in mind this very simple truth...

He wasn’t supposed to be defending any of those dudes.

Dillon was a real surprise this year. A fringe rotation player at best was the assumption, not someone that would lead the Grizzlies in games played (82) and be second in minutes (2,350) to Marc Gasol. If you told us all that before the season started, I would have said something went horribly wrong...and of course it did. That isn’t Dillon’s fault though. He is to be commended for his efforts, and real growth, as a defender and as a player overall over the span of the season.

They Said It-

“The Grizzlies were awful on defense this season, but Brooks was typically tasked with guarding the opposing teams best guard or wing. He didn’t always defend well, but it’s telling he was the person put in charge of trying to stop the likes of James Harden and the other NBA elites.”- Brandon Abraham, GBB Senior Writer

“ I don’t really think anyone deserves this award, but Dillon has most of the tough assignments this year. Not many games meant enough to play legitimate defense, and this team wasn’t capable of it anyway. Based on his early season defensive assignments and the way he handled them, I’ll give him the award.”- McCarty Maxwell, GBB Senior Writer

Others Receiving Votes-

No one (literally was the vote), Andrew Harrison

The Award for Most Fun Player to Watch goes to...

Tyreke Evans!

NBA: Memphis Grizzlies at Phoenix Suns Jennifer Stewart-USA TODAY Sports

This one felt like Evans in a landslide was likely in my opinion, but shockingly it was the most hotly contested category. Maybe in a bad season we all develop our favorites. Tyreke won by a vote, however, and he deserves this accolade. When Evans got going, he was special. What made him so dangerous was the fact that he was making his threes at a very high rate this season (39.9%, best on the team among players with at least 1,000 minutes). Combining that with his size and athleticism made for a truly elite scoring wing.

Oh, and he led the Grizzlies outright in assists per game as well (5.2). Just a dominant, dominant season as an offensive player. Could’ve helped any playoff team, if they were just willing to part with a measly late 1st round pick...

Sorry Boston, still salty.

They Said It-

“He created his own shot better than anyone else on the team. Granted, sometimes he should have deferred to his wife open teammates instead of driving into a triple team, but any time he was in the lineup, you knew you were going to see something. “- Greg Ratliff, GBB Writer

The Award for Grizzlies Least Valuable Player goes to...

Ben McLemore!

NBA: Memphis Grizzlies at Minnesota Timberwolves Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

In another hotly contested category (not too shocking in a terrible season), Ben McLemore narrowly beats out Mario Chalmers to take home the Razzie of this awards show instead of the Oscar. Ben was...really bad. A net rating of -13, a win share per 48 minutes of .023...Memphis was just so much worse with McLemore on the floor. They lost far more when McLemore played as opposed to when he didn’t-

That isn’t all on Ben, of course. The Conley injury issues occurred early, when Ben wasn’t able to play Mike was and the Grizzlies are clearly better with Conley regardless of who is around him. Over the span of the season, though, it continued to be the trend that Memphis was worse off for having Ben in the game. Combine that with his unsightly contract that limited their use of the Mid-Level Exception, and Ben’s the “winner” here.

They Said It-

“The Grizzlies were 15-12 in games where McLemore didn’t play. They were 7-48 with him in the lineup. Again, sometimes the numbers speak for themselves.”- Nathan Chester, GBB Senior Writer

“It was tempting to go with Chalmers here, but Ben just narrowly edges him out. I was one of those that hyped his arrival, citing his athleticism and silky-smooth shot as someone who could make a difference. And in a way he has made a difference, but not the one i expected. They were competitive without him and horrible with him.”- Colin Griffith, GBB Writer

Others Receiving Votes-

Mario Chalmers, Chandler Parsons, Tyreke Evans

NOW, THE MAIN EVENT...

The Award for Grizzlies MVP goes to...

Dillon Brooks!

NBA: Golden State Warriors at Memphis Grizzlies Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

Wow.

From 2nd round pick to MVP of an NBA season in less than a calendar year.

Goodness things went south fast for the Grizzlies.

The greatest ability for Memphis this year was availability. Dillon Brooks played in every role fathomable, every position from the 2 to the 4, played in every game, and did not bat an eyelash. He was asked to do far more than anyone, even Dillon himself if he’s being honest, expected to have be on his workload this coming season. Even in the face of remarkable failure as a team, he found a way to be a true success and a shining light in a real darkness as the dog days of the campaign grinded along.

He needed to facilitate more as the season ended, and he did as he showed true growth in his game.

He was asked to compete night in and night out against the very best the NBA had to offer in terms of perimeter players, and he never lost his confidence in himself.

He went from a fringe rotation player at best to a projected starter on a team hoping to make the playoffs next season.

That’s worthy of an MVP nod. Congrats, Dillon.

They Said It-

“Brooks played all 82 games. He is a consistent player on the court offensively and defensively. He can score from the top and corner. He can come out of nowhere and strip the ball from the offense and create fast break opportunities.” - Elbert Hubbard Jr., GBB Writer

“Brooks was one of the only bright spots in a dark season. The Rook played all 82 games and was thrown into the deep end to learn the NBA right away. His impact to the team came in ways outside of the box score every night. He was reliable and versatile fitting into the lineup wherever and proved to be more than just a second round pick.”- Jack Noonan, GBB Associate Editor

Others Receiving Votes-

Mike Conley, Tyreke Evans, Ben McLemore


Thanks to Jack, Elbert, Collin, Nathan, Greg, Brandon A, McCarty, GBB Writer Grace Baker, GBB Senior Writers Ross Jarrar and Parker Fleming, and GBB Associate Editor Brandon Conner for participating!

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