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Week-side Help: Topsy Turvy (Week 3)

An up-and-down week for the Grizzlies reminds fans that the right process is more important than results right now.

NBA: Memphis Grizzlies at Orlando Magic Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Week 3 Results

Houston Rockets 107 @ Memphis Grizzlies 100 (1-5) Recap | Box Score

Minnesota Timberwolves 121 @ Memphis Grizzlies 137 (2-5) Recap | Box Score

Memphis Grizzlies 86 (2-6) @ Orlando Magic 118 Recap | Box Score

Dallas Mavericks 138 @ Memphis Grizzlies 122 (2-7) Recap | Box Score

Week 3 Storylines

-Memphis goes 1-3 on the third week of the season, the only win coming against the Timberwolves

-Jaren Jackson Jr. returned from his knee injury suffered last week against Phoenix after not missing any games. Grayson Allen missed the whole week of play with his ankle injury.

Required Reading

-GBB’s Parker Fleming on Ja Morant’s clear-cut ability to go out and get a bucket.

-GBB’s Brendan Smart on how De’Anthony Melton can find a way to insert himself in the rotation and make the most of his limited.

Week 3 Theme: Process, Results, etc.

“Trust the Process” is an incredible saying. Kudos to Philly people for making and owning that. It’s been co-opted into a lot of different meanings and removed the reason why “trust the process” is such a useful mantra.

When you’re a championship contending team, hand-wringing over individual results is expected and likely necessary to make adjustments throughout the season to maintain your status. But when you’re rebuilding like Memphis is at the moment, you have to focus on building the blueprint to work from when you are in a position to contend. And the Grizzlies are building that blueprint.

They have a clear identity on the offensive end, more than that could be said of previous iterations of the Grizzlies. The fast pace at which this team plays is the best use of extremely athletic talents like Ja Morant and Brandon Clarke, among others. Everything on offense is centered around getting easy shots at the rim. On the defensive end, they want to use their speed and length to create fast break opportunities that lead to those easy shots at the rim. There’s an actual system in place.

This week, the process led to mixed results. As good as Memphis looked against Minnesota, they looked equally as lost against Orlando and Dallas. The results are just not going to be that critical this season. Making sure the process is as complete and smart as possible this season is far more critical.

Week 3 Notes

-Lost in all the hullabaloo about the foul calls and shenanigans against the Rockets, Memphis shot 3/25 on three-pointers in a game they lost by just 7. A measly 24% would have won the game.

-Obligatory Brandon Clarke praise here. He already looks like an above-average NBA player in just his first 6 games as a professional. A lot of people will point to the extra time he spent in college, but the man is as talented as he is smart on the court. You don’t get this good at floaters just by knowing the game. It takes touch and talent and Clarke’s got a fistful of both.

-Tyus Jones’ revenge game against Minnesota was great. Was it actually a revenge game? Is there any animosity between them at all? Revenge game sounds more fun let’s go with that.

NBA: Memphis Grizzlies at Orlando Magic Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

-What made the Minnesota win so remarkable for this young team was that it has been one of the rare instances Memphis has kept up a competitive performance from beginning-to-end. You had to think Memphis was due for a game of that sort, but it’s nice to have that proof of concept.

-Listen, pal. I don’t know what I can say about an 8-point 4th quarter that isn’t implied by an EIGHT-POINT FOURTH QUARTER.

-Orlando are no slouches. They were a playoff team last year and even got a win over the eventual champion Toronto Raptors. But scoring 8 points in 12 minutes (/ FG/FGA) wouldn’t even happen if this Memphis team played the 2016 Warriors that went 73-9. Or the 72-10 ‘96 Bulls. Just a jarring performance.

-For their offensive struggles this year, Memphis isn’t THAT bad. It’s a terrible stretch of play that I’m sure will be referenced a lot when Taylor Jenkins gets criticized, and rightfully so. But how this young team bounces back is indicative on him, as well. Let’s wait and see if this is more prevalent issue as the year goes on.

-The Dallas game might be even more discouraging because of the defensive performance. While not exactly great all season, the Dallas performance was particularly bad. A defensive rating of 131.5 against Dallas compared to their season rating of 112.1 is porous and a failure on a few levels.

-Dallas showed relative ease making their hay in the paint. They could get penetration off of easy pick-and-rolls and Memphis either couldn’t or wouldn’t make the adjustments to stop it.

NBA: Dallas Mavericks at Memphis Grizzlies Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

-With Ja Morant and Brandon Clarke resting Saturday, there’s something to be said about it being a throwaway game from the get-go. But it’s not exactly a good sign when missing two rookies debtailitates your team.

Week 4 Schedule Power Rankings

Memphis Grizzlies @ San Antonio Spurs Mon 11/11 6:30 CT

Memphis Grizzlies @ Charlotte Hornets Tues 11/12 6:00 CT

Utah Jazz @ Memphis Grizzlies Fri 11/15 8:00 CT

Denver Nuggets @ Memphis Grizzlies Sun 11/17 5:00 CT

Another four-game slate for the week including the highly anticipated return of Mike Conley to FedExForum. I hope he gets the ovation he truly deserves for helping cement Memphis as the bonafide basketball city it is today and for giving the Grizzlies’ franchise credibility.

Inspired by the likely emotional game to come Friday, the Week-side Help will rank what projects to be the most intense games of the week. Some of these may not have on-court reasons to back them up, some of them do. Is there a history between the two teams? Are there familiar players? Actual stakes attached? I don’t know! Let’s find out.

4. @ Hornets

OK, yeah, we lost to them by 61 a couple of years ago. Big whoop. Happens all the time (don’t look that up). As bad as that was, there’s a grand total of X players from that Memphis team still around.

The Hornets are bad, Memphis is maybe slightly less bad at the moment. This game isn’t going to feel like Game 7 of the Finals. But it could be a lot of fun to watch. Memphis has been entertaining even in their bad stretches this season and Charlotte has been sneaky interesting. PJ Washington looks like a legit prospect and seeing their post-Kemba roster vs. our post-Mike roster will be an interesting comparison.

3. vs. Nuggets

Not much to go off of here, but they do play in the Western Conference. Denver is also expected to be in the title picture after a great season a year ago and the expected improvement of a generally young roster with another year of continuity. There’s not much of a connection between Memphis and Denver that screams intensity, but the higher level of competition gives it the edge over the Charlotte game.

NBA: Philadelphia 76ers at Denver Nuggets Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

To add some stakes to this game, each team puts up the player that is often rumored to go to the other: Memphis bets Andre Iguodala, Denver bets Malik Beasely. Boom. A November game with stakes attached. Fixed your load management problems, Adam Silver.

2. @ Spurs

In all of the iterations of the Memphis Grizzlies, through the good and the bad, the San Antonio Spurs have been there to lord over the conference. That hasn’t been really the case since their title in 2014 as the Warriors grabbed the mantle, but the Spurs have kept plugging away and getting automatic playoff berths. While there’s history between these two franchises, the Memphis roster is completely different from the 2016-17 first round series.

This game will have that extra oomph when Memphis gets to show off their fancy new prospects against the ever consistent Spurs. For whatever divisions are still worth in 2019, Memphis and San Antonio still share one. The increased exposure between the two teams will make this a more intense matchup as the season goes on and the first one should be fun to watch.

1. vs. Jazz

You’re going to cry. At some point before, during, or after the game, you’re going to cry because of Mike Conley. They might be sad tears that he’s gone, happy tears that he’s back, or proud tears because of the path taken to get to this point. There’s going to be tears. Memphis will give him a loving and totally deserving video package or awesome memento. The moment will overtake the basketball actually played on the court. Winning or losing will be secondary on this night, which is a lot easier to say when you are in the middle of a rebuild.

Enjoy the night. This is #1 by a mile.

Have a good week, Memphis

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