Take a deep breath.
Now repeat these words over and over again until you calm down.
I. WILL. NOT. OVERREACT. TO. A. PRESEASON. GAME.
The Memphis Grizzlies looked the part of young NBA team on the rise at times on Monday night, but more often than not the Grizzlies were unable to hang with another team likely to be lottery bound this coming spring, the Charlotte Hornets. There were plenty of things to both be excited by and disappointed in, but the highs and lows of the coming campaign will be both exciting and exhausting if you’re too engaged in the game to game wins and losses of the young Grizzlies.
Look for trends...or in the case of this first actual preseason game against actual NBA players, the possible starts of trends. Here’s two, for better or worse, that bear watching.
It’s not so much about the three point shooting. The Hornets almost certainly will never again shoot the long ball at such an efficient rate while chucking so many from beyond the arc (17-40 is...not sustainable). What should concern Grizzlies fans is the way Charlotte was able to attack the paint at will - 54 points in the paint in addition to that long range marksmanship shows a lack of schematic understanding. Usually one or the other is limited - when both are so prolific, it is a systemic failure.
Whether it is switching gone wrong or slow rotations on the perimeter, beyond this game if one of (or Heaven forbid both) these stats stay this high, the Grizzlies will have a longer season than even the most pessimistic Memphis fan is anticipating. Lessons need to be learned in tough film sessions - it was far too easy for the Hornets in this one.
Brandon Clarke can ball
Brandon Clarke is the greatest steal in the history of the NBA...
(Looks back at start of article)
(Takes a deep breath)
Don’t overreact, but Brandon Clarke looks to be the real deal. The most exciting part of Clarke’s production - which, while not a full-blown trend due to the fact he hasn’t played in a meaningful NBA game yet, is consistent across meaningless contests - is that while it’s probably closer to its ceiling than floor it probably will translate to when the games start counting next week.
Because Clarke will not be asked to match up with elite bigs night after night, at least not often. As a reserve big to start the season, he will have lesser competition than Jaren Jackson Jr. or Jonas Valanciunas to contend with. It’s safe to say Clarke will be pretty athletic compared to his bench peers, and it may not mean he gets a double double every night but it should mean he has the opportunity to impact every game he enters.
The shooting guard battle between Grayson Allen, Dillon Brooks, and Marko Guduric. Ja Morant’s highlight reel potential. The list can go on and on of things to look for as the preseason concludes this week that have absolutely nothing to do with the final score. The nice thing about these futile exercises is they’re excellent practice for us that follow the Grizzlies for the season ahead. The wins and losses aren’t “meaningless”, but they don’t compare in terms of scale with the long-term view of the squad.
Experimentation is a must moving forward, and as long as Memphis understands that and learns before mistakes become trends random Monday night losses to Charlotte won’t be a detriment, but another brick in the wall of a new Grizzlies foundation.
The process continues Wednesday night on the road against the Oklahoma City Thunder.