The Memphis Grizzlies topped the Detroit Pistons on Sunday afternoon. This game turned out to be a shooting contest like in a G-League practice, meaning there was very little defense from a lot of players none of have heard about. The Grizzlies trotted out just two players with real NBA experience, Marc Gasol and Mario Chalmers, and the rest are players with one to two years of professional basketball under their belt.
The final score was 130-117 in favor of the Grizzlies, which is a little scary. After the win, the Phoenix Suns are now two games up in the tank race, with Dallas just 1.5 games behind Memphis. There are two games left, at Minnesota and Oklahoma City. Those are losable for sure, which is a nice two game stretch to close the season on. Stay tuned to see if the Grizzlies end up spoiling the one fruit this season could possibly bear.
Below are my grades for this laugh of an NBA game.
Marc Gasol and the Grizzlies, A
If you missed my post early last week, the Grizzlies box office announced that the game versus Detroit would be a kids free game. Since it was the last home game of the year and as a huge thank you to fans, the purchase of any adult ticket was packages with a free kid’s ticket. This was a nice gesture by the organization to bring the community inside FedEx Forum and topped the promotion off with an entertaining win.
Marc Gasol played well, just one assist and rebound away from a triple double. Gasol anchored a team of players he doesn’t know a ton about in a season that he wishes never happened, so to give the fans something to smile about to close out the home games was nice to see. He at least got to see what he may be working with next season and use games like this one as examples for how to develop his leadership in the coming years.
MarShon Brooks, A
I don’t know how long Brooks can keep up his hot streak. He has joined this team at the perfect time to get significant playing time and come out guns blazing. His season minimum is 21 points and is averaging 22.5 points per game. The best part of his game on Sunday afternoon is that he played just 26 minutes and scored 25 points on just one turnover. Brooks is a baller, and I can’t wait to see what a whole season of production is from him.
MarShon Brooks has made the most of his opportunity in Memphis that has landed him a multi-year deal. Unfortunately for him, that doesn’t carry that much weight after hearing the Grizzlies front office is handing out contracts like Oprah. Brooks will have to develop on the defensive end and contribute more on the boards, but his shooting and shot selection have set him apart. Sunday afternoon he took just 14 shots. Compare that to his Brooks brother in Dillon Brooks, who took 12 shots and 11 free throws, and the future looks bright...well, brighter.
If you aren’t aware, I’m a huge Kobi Simmons fans. I love what I’ve seen from Simmons, though like MarShon Brooks we only have a small sample size. Simmons has to a ton of room to grow, mainly on the defensive end and in long range shooting, but he can be a solid complement to Mike Conley. Andrew Harrison has done his due diligence in handling the ball this season, but Simmons provides the speed and athleticism that this position needs. The best part about Simmons is that he wants to learn, he seeks the coaching and advice of the few veterans on this team.
Sunday night he scored 20 points on 7-10 shooting and dished out seven assists. That could become routine when the pressure is taken off from Mike Conley and Chandler Parsons next season. He also only tallied one turnover, which is even more encouraging considering the team he was playing with yesterday: a team he couldn’t have even randomly picked himself. More great things will come from Kobi Simmons.
The rest of the team, B-
There were only three players that put up a negative plus/minus: Ben McLemore, Mario Chalmers, and Marc Gasol. Two of those are not surprising and two of them will likely be back next year. The rest of the team played solid basketball. Keep in mind, the Pistons forgot to bring their defense to the arena Sunday, but the young Grizzlies made the most of the open lanes and set jumpers. Six Grizzlies were in double figures, including Deyonta Davis would scored 13 points on 6-8 shooting and grabbed seven rebounds.
There hasn’t been very many games this season that have made me optimistic about the immediate future of this team. Young guys like Kobi Simmons and the emergence of MarShon Brooks have been nice surprises, but others like the inefficiency of Jarrell Martin and disinterest of Deyonta Davis have stuck out to me more. Sunday afternoon gave Memphis a hint of what these young guys are capable of. Finding the consistency and rhythm to produce on a nightly basis is what we are looking forward to in the next season.