As their season continued to collapse around them and their home arena literally dealt with a fire near the home team Grizzlies locker room, Memphis dropped yet another game to a team that they, in theory, should be able to compete with. Charlotte has talent, and Kemba Walker should be an All-Star, but considering the moves Memphis made this offseason and the health of Mike Conley and Marc Gasol this should’ve been a competitive game.
It wasn’t, really.
It is another double digit loss on the ledger for Memphis, who now has a staggering eight such defeats in their last 14 games. Going off that sample size, Grizzlies fans can expect Memphis to lose by 10 or more points roughly 57% of the time. It is because of this that the two best players on the roster, Marc Gasol and Mike Conley, are on the trading block.
But what if I told you it’s not actually their fault the Grizzlies lost this game. Would you be surprised?
Of course not. You’re reading GBB. You follow this team. You, being the intellectual you are, get that the issues with Memphis run deeper than two players. Yet here we are, waiting for a Woj Bomb to detonate and blow the remnants of the best era in Grizzlies history in to the history books.
On that happy note, grades-
Marc Gasol and Mike Conley get an A.
Yesterday was an emotional day for all of us, and here at GBB I wrote about what the endgame of Gasol and Conley will be once their time in Memphis does come to an end, be it two days, weeks, or years from now. They are beloved for their work both on the court for the Grizzlies and off the floor for the city of Memphis, and they should be. Last night they reminded us what they’re capable of - 31 points on 17 shots for Conley, and a triple double for Gasol of 22 points, 17 rebounds, and 10 assists. These two can still play, and are going to make contending teams better via trade if those deals do indeed go down.
Did Mike struggle with Kemba Walker defensively, especially in that 4th quarter? Yes. Is Marc Gasol still a step slow and struggling to defend the paint as well as he once did, even as recently as three months ago? Absolutely. Do they have any other player besides them giving consistent help as a third best player on the team?
Absolutely not. And that is not their fault...to be honest, it isn’t even the rest of the roster’s fault. The sins of the past are catching up with Memphis, and that is why the Grizzlies are where they are.
J.B. Bickerstaff gets an F
We continue to have no evidence that J.B. Bickerstaff is a good NBA coach.
As an assistant, he is perfectly fine more than likely. But he is floundering as a head coach.
Four minutes for Jevon Carter and 17 for Shelvin Mack. Why?
The first sense of foul trouble for Jaren Jackson Jr., and he gets sat down. Jaren plays 26 minutes, JaMychal Green (who should NOT be on this team two weeks from now) plays 27 and FOULS OUT OF THE GAME. Why?
On and on and on on this carousel of absurdity we can go. The franchise announces the two best players arguably in their history are on the block, and instead of taking that and saying “time to look at the young guys!” you double down on players that have failed you time and again over the last month or so.
Because he has no better ideas.
The construction of this roster is flawed. There is someone making $24 million dollars to hang out and rehab in Los Angeles. You’re missing two young and talented wings due to injury. All those things are reasons for you to invest in the youth you do have, and let them fail. Let them pick themselves up when they fall, and learn in the act. Instead, we get to watch JaMychal Green and Shelvin Mack - again, two players who hopefully will be traded in the next two weeks - eat time that Jaren, Jevon, and Ivan Rabb should be seeing. You know, because they’ll actually (probably) be on the roster next season.
The Grizzlies have their man as head coach indeed...and their seeing the results they deserve for the process they put forth in selecting him.
- JaMychal Green gets a B for playing his ass off. Certainly wasn’t perfect, but 13 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists, a steal, and a block off the bench is nice to have...especially if you’re a contender. Looking at you, teams that aren’t the Grizzlies...
- Justin Holiday gets a C- for effort. 10 points on 11 shots isn’t going to cut it, but six rebounds from a wing is nice to see and keeps him out of the D range here. A game low -11 is bad, but he also played 41 minutes, which...sigh...re-read the Bickerstaff section and just add this part to that.
- Garrett Temple gets a D for taking five shots in 39 minutes. With four of them being threes, and of those shots only one of them went in. Maybe attack the basket more, especially with Gasol and others being so perimeter dependent at this stage. Temple is extremely outside his ideal role - perhaps a contender can acquire him (2nd round pick, please) and use him as the 9th or 10th man in a rotation that he is.
The Grizzlies are back in action Friday night in Memphis against the Sacramento Kings. The game is scheduled to begin at 7:00 PM CT.