On Friday night, Jordan Clarkson did almost the exact same thing.
For the second game in a row, a sixth-man effort played a large role in dooming the Grizzlies. The main difference this time is that the loss stings a bit more - the Thunder are still “bad”, but at least they’re in the mix for the postseason in the not-so-good bottom half of the Western Conference playoff picture. Cleveland is considerably worse - and most folks (myself included) assumed the Cavaliers were not as good as the Grizzlies.
For one night at least, I/we were wrong.
On to the grades.
Jae Crowder took 15 shots last night, making 5 of them. He was 0 for 6 from three. He clearly did not have it last night. He played only 28 minutes - the least of the starters, but more than a De’Anthony Melton, or a Grayson Allen, or a Kyle Anderson (only 7 minutes, which unless he was injured is just wrong. But more on that later).
Jae has been a welcome addition to the team. There’s a veteran on the roster (Andre Iguodala) who has made it more than clear he doesn’t want to be a Grizzly. Crowder has embraced the rebuild. That’s terrific. But in no way, shape, or form should offense be dependent on Jar Crowder. He had four more shot attempts than Ja Morant, and two more than Jonas Valanciunas. That never - ever - should happen.
Jaren Jackson Jr.
Are we done being irrationally concerned about this young man?
24 points, 4-11 from beyond the arc, 2 blocks. That’s the way you measure a good night from Jaren Jackson Jr. His lack of rebounding is frustrating given his frame, and Cleveland dominated Memphis in this area of the game (as I predicted would happen in the Game Preview). That’s just not who he is as a player at this point. He’s a giant wing offensively, playing on the perimeter and able to create mismatches with his off the dribble skill set. He’s a rim protector defensively, but not someone that will body and eat the glass.
He’s also one of the youngest 2nd-year players in the NBA. So be patient. The boards may or may not come...but he will only get better/more consistent offensively. And that should terrify the rest of the NBA.
- JA MORANT didn’t take very many shots, but he impacted the game with his assist numbers (11). He also nearly ended Kevin Love’s career with a dunk that if it had converted likely would have shattered the heavens and the earth. GRADE - B
- SOLOMON HILL is like Jae Crowder lite - he is a valuable vet in terms of experience, but he shouldn’t be occupying a rotation spot when Memphis is entirely healthy. Hill will not be here in six months. If the Grizzlies are going to be bad (which they are) let the young players who may actually be in Memphis long-term get those 14 minutes of playing time. GRADE - D+
- TAYLOR JENKINS is a rookie in and of himself. Maybe he feels pressured to keep the veterans happy in a lost season. But Jae Crowder out of timeout plays and Solomon Hill playing more minutes than Kyle Anderson or Grayson Allen aren’t what this season are about. Jenkins may need to be saved from himself regarding these guys by deadline deals...but remember, the Hawks wanted a roster spot and Chandler Parsons more than Solomon Hill. And yet Jenkins depends on him for consistent minutes. Why? GRADE- D