Site Manager’s Note: This piece is meant to be satire, and should be taken as such.
Here we are again. The Memphis Grizzlies are headed to the locker room at half time in a close contest. The team has been struggling but everything so far in the first half points to the team finally turning it around and stopping the losing streak.
There is a little bit of buzz around FedExForum amongst the fans hoping that tonight is the night that the bleeding finally stops. The offense has been fluid and the defense has yet to be dashed and gashed. Tonight is the night.
Marc Gasol is aggressive early, taking open shots and even rebounding. Jaren Jackson Jr. is sending shots to the stands and staying out of foul trouble. Garrett Temple is doing more than jacking up threes, moving without the ball and taking his defender off the dribble. Mike Conley is racking up the assists, saving his energy for the second half.
Lets join the team in the locker room before another third quarter that sees the Grizzlies go down 20+ points, never to sniff a chance again...
Grizzlies Head Coach J.B. Bickerstaff: Alright men, good work out there. Now here are a couple pizzas for you while we discuss second half adjustments.
Trainer: I don’t think pizza is a good idea coach
J.B.: Nonsense! They have played so well for 24 minutes, they deserve pizza and maybe even ice cream.
Grizzlies Assistant Coach Jerry Stackhouse: Coach, we need to look at defending the corner three better, it looks vulnerable, we are lucky they are not hitting that shot so far.
J.B.: Come on Stack, that's the hardest shot in basketball, we need to focus on grittin’ and grindin’. The offense has looked great men. The off ball movement and passing has been crisp and we are getting good looks. But this is the NBA and we have to expect the other team to make adjustments, so we have to predict their adjustments and adjust ourselves.
Stackhouse: The Jaren Jackson and Mike Conley pick and roll looks like a great mismatch to take advantage of.
J.B.: No. The two man game is for Mike and Marc only. Jaren isn't ready for that.
Grizzlies rookie Jaren Jackson Jr.: Coach, I can handle...
J.B.: Yo, rook, I said you aren't ready. Just spot up for threes and block some shots. But if you get one foul, you are gonna sit with me. We will start the half with the starters, but Mike I am gonna pull you early to get some rest so you can be the hero in the fourth. Speaking of the fourth, we are going to trust our vets to close us out, because they have earned it, being vets. So we will end with Mike, Marc, Shelvin, Garrett, and JMyke.
Grizzlies Assistant Coach Nick Van Exel: No offense Shelvin, but coach Mack is a -8 right now and just doesn't have it tonight, we should look at playing Carter or Holiday instead.
J.B.: Who’s the coach? We play the guys who have earned it and I trust Shelvin, so its going to be Shelvin.
Grizzlies Assistant Coach Greg Buckner: Hey J.B., having Marc, Shelvin and JMyke on the floor at the same time is our worst lineup. Jaren has looked great tonight, we should probably at least switch Green and the Rook.
J.B.: No, can't have Jaren fouling out or making rookie mistakes. If he can make it to the fourth with zero fouls, I will think about it.
Grizzlies player Marc Gasol: Coach, I took all the shots I want to take in the first half, I think I will pass and set up my teammates.
J.B.: Excellent! That’s team basketball right there. Everyone follow his lead and pass the ball to Mike Conley in the fourth.
Grizzlies player Mike Conley: Coach we should probably stick to running the offense.
J.B.: You want to be an All Star or not Mike? You have to carry us in the fourth, the other team will adjust to our offense and stop us, this is the only way. I think that about does it. Grit n’ Grind men. Hang our hats on defense. Finish those pizzas, pump out a quick nap, and let’s go out bring home the W.
(JB exits the locker room and runs in to Grizzlies GM Chris Wallace)
Chris Wallace: Coach this game is too close, did you sabotage the game plan? I want this draft pick, got my eye on some Kansas players. That Lawson kid has some Memphis ties. We need him.
J.B.: Yea, we gave the fans enough in the first half. We slipped some NyQuil in the Gatorade so they come out slow and lethargic, giving the other guys enough time to run away with it.
Wallace: Good, I knew you were the right guy for the job.
Obviously none of that happens (I hope). But whatever happens in the third quarter is just baffling. Something is happening or not happening in that locker room that causes this team to just come out flat. Whether it is the leadership from the head coach or the passivity of Marc and Mike as vocal leaders, something isn't working.
Last year was expected when you lose Mike Conley 12 games into the season. Watching the Grizzlies lose games was hard but not as hard because the expectations were low. Maybe that is the real issue here, maybe we set expectations for the team that were never realistic. Whatever it may be, this season has been one of the most painful seasons to watch in franchise history.
If changes don't come and come soon, the Grizzlies will end up with a pick between 4-8 and that makes this season even more of loss. Its bottom three record or convey the pick. This stance that they are still fighting for the playoffs is fading and fast.