One of the best moments of the offseason, besides drafting Jaren Jackson Jr. of course, was the coup our front office made. When the news came across the wire that the Memphis Grizzlies were packaging Ben McLemore and Deyonta Davis in return for Garrett Temple from the Sacramento Kings, we were all happy just to get rid of the two players we did.
Not many expected nor really cared for Temple to be all that productive let alone a contributing starter. Literally, almost anyone was going to be an upgrade over Ben McLemore. Temple was an upgrade no matter what he gave to the team.
Heading into the preseason, the expectation was that the starting line up would most likely be Mike Conley, Dillon Brooks, Kyle Anderson, JaMychal Green and Marc Gasol. However, the Grizzlies are 40 games into the season and Temple has started all 40.
Toss out that opener against the Pacers, that was just bad all the way around. Start with the home opener against the Hawks when Temple dropped a 30 piece. You could see people looking around the Forum saying “OK, we might have something here.” So the start to his season looked more than just competent but promising.
Sometimes the start just can't be maintained over the course of a season. Check out his month by month scoring numbers:
October: 14.3 pts/game, 51% from 3, and 45% overall shooting
November: 9.7 pts/game, 32% from 3, and 46% overall shooting
December: 9.6 pts/game, 35% from 3, and 46% overall shooting
January: 7.0 pts/game, 24% from 3, and 29% overall shooting
It was obviously expected that Garrett would not maintain the 14.3 points per game on 51% from deep pace he was one. It is even a stretch that he would keep up the 9+ points per game pace because he is a career 5 points per game player.
Temple is a 32 year old journeyman that is a good locker room guy. It’s time he is treated more like a locker room vet than a highly relied upon player on the court. Take the Vince Carter approach with Temple. Here is the most disturbing stat regarding Temple:
October: 30.3 minutes per game
November: 33.9 minutes per game
December: 29.8 minutes per game
January: 35 minutes per game
Currently Temple is averaging 32 minutes a game. That is 6 more minutes per game than his career high two years ago 12+ minutes more than his career average. Is it a coincidence that his minutes are so high and his numbers are getting worse?
The Grizzlies have played 18 games since the beginning of December and Temple has registered as a + player in the box score just four times.
While Temple is logging all these minutes, taking 9-10 shots a game, do you remember a guy by the name of Dillon Brooks?
Since returning from injury, Brooks is averaging 17 minutes per game. I have a degree in Mathematics and that degree helps me understand that a 32 year old Temple is playing 15 more minutes a game than a 22 Brooks who can be instant offense at any time he is on the floor.
While Temple is averaging 7 points on 29% shooting and 9.5 attempts in his 32 minutes this month, Brooks is averaging 11 points on 60% shooting, 40% from 3 in his 17 minutes. I am not sure, but if you are a team struggling to score, giving the guy who can score and is a comparable defender more minutes that the other guy is a good idea.
It is clear that something is not working. I am not one to change things for the sake of change, but it is time to shake things up. That change should be putting Brooks into the starting lineup and giving him the 28-30 minutes and bringing Temple off the bench to lead the second unit on 19-21 minutes. Let the man rest and get better production rather than run him ragged and get nothing.