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Week-side Help: Week 19 - A New Beginn- oh jeez they lost to Cleveland.

No Jaren, No Wins, No Hope

NBA: Memphis Grizzlies at Cleveland Cavaliers David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

Week 19 Results

Los Angeles Clippers 112 @ Memphis Grizzlies 106 (23-37) Recap | Box Score

Memphis Grizzlies 107 (23-38) @ Cleveland Cavaliers 112 Recap | Box Score

Week 19 Storylines

-Memphis announced that F/C Jaren Jackson Jr. suffered a deep thigh bruise on his left leg. The team said Jackson Jr will be out “indefinitely” as they assess his injury. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski first reported the news.

-Kyle Anderson will receive yet another consultation on his sore shoulder this week. Coach J.B. Bickerstaff said the team is still trying to figure out the cause of the soreness.

-Chandler Parsons played his first game since October 22nd on Friday against the Clippers. He totaled 3 points on 1-7 shooting and 2 rebounds in 20 minutes.

-Memphis goes 0-2 in their first games post-All-Star break

-Required Reading: If you’re struggling to find reasons to watch this bad Grizzlies team, read GBB’s Patrick Graziosi on what there is to watch, looking towards the future, for a rebuilding team that’s out of the playoff hunt. | With the Grizzlies roster in flux after the trade deadline, GBB’s Joe Mullinax sees the opportunity in rebuilding and how the newest Grizzlies could fit in long-term.

Week 19 Thoughts

-The Jaren news is scary, but probably because the city of Memphis will be massively overprotective over their young star. This analysis comes with the clear description of me not being a doctor, but a thigh bruise doesn’t feel like an injury someone gets because they’re weak or going to be Chandler Parsons-like injury prone. It’s just a random injury. Unless it continues to be aggravated or he simply isn’t healing, Memphis shouldn’t worry about his health or long-term prospects.

-One of the knocks against JJJ pre-draft was that he was thin compared to the other bigs like Deandre Ayton and Marvin Bagley III. He hasn’t blossomed into Dwight Howard quite yet, but Jaren is filling out his body so that he won’t be overpowered by other bigs or injured by the slightest breeze that passes through FedEx Forum. The anxiety this injury news caused is a tad overblown for how small the injury is for a player with no serious injury history.

-TL;DR: Jaren will probably be fine.

-I’m not exactly sure being extremely overcautious with one of your best players categorizes as tanking, but a healthy Jaren not playing would definitely have that effect. The team has talked about their desire to convey their top-8 protected 1st-round pick to Boston this year so that they don’t give up a potentially more valuable top-6 protected 2020 1st-round pick or unprotected 2021 1st-round pick.

NBA: New Orleans Pelicans at Memphis Grizzlies Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

-Bruno Caboclo is super skilled. There was a nice pick-and-pop opportunity with Mike Conley early against the Clippers that was run perfectly...until Bruno’s three-point attempt clanged against the backboard and missed.

-If we’re comparing him to our past 10-day turned multi-year star MarShon Brooks, he’s better in every facet of the game other than putting the ball in the basket. He’s a good passer and a heck of a lot better as a defender with his length. His shooting (.379 from the field and .310 on three-pointers) has to improve if he’s going to stay on the court, though.

-You know what, I think I’m coming to the conclusion that giving Chandler Parsons $94 million over 4 years was a bad idea. That’s just me, though.

-Parsons didn’t look any better--or worse to his credit--in his return against the Clippers. His jump shot is as off-rhythm as it’s been in his whole tenure as a Grizzly. His basketball IQ is still very high and you can see that he knows what to do and tries to do it, but his legs fail him. Lower-body strength is extremely important for shooting long-distance, which is unfortunate because being a spot-up shooter that can pick-and-pop with Mike Conley would be a perfect role for the 6’10” forward.

NBA: Los Angeles Clippers at Memphis Grizzlies Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

-I want to give him more time this season to shake off the rust of being healthy but benched. But man, he looked like he usually does in his first game back. Rust might just be a feature of his game now.

-Only against Memphis would Kevin Love revert to his Minnesota hey dey, except in much better shape. 32 points and 12 rebounds in 26 minutes. An absolute torching for a player still playing his way back to game-shape following his return from injury.

-I will say this, Joakim Noah looks so much better than his New York Knicks days. He’s a lot more energized and spry compared to how he looked back then. Maybe that provides inspiration for Parsons who can still, maybe one day, be a contributor and put injuries behind him.

-Memphis has lost to Cleveland and Chicago within their last three games. I say this like 10 times a season, but this feels like a low point for Memphis. I can’t wait to see what new low point we’ll stumble upon in the next few weeks.

Protection Inspection

2/24 NBA Lottery standings via tankathon.com
tankathon.com

The top-4 of this draft is by far the most interesting part of this lottery. That, and the slight, but the still hilarious, chance that the Lakers get Zion Williamson.

Not that Memphis would be that much better, but I’d be so worried for Zion if he went to any of those top-4 teams with their current ownership/front office. James Dolan does not deserve Zion Williamson in a Knicks jersey. Robert Sarver does not deserve Zion Williamson in a Suns jersey.

By the way, I got light-headed typing that last sentence. Zion and Deandre Ayton playing next to each other? With Devin Booker? Good grief.

As for the tanking/conveying campaign of the Grizzlies remains stagnant at 6th, with Washington and Dallas now hot on their tail. Dallas, once looking like a threat for the 8th seed, has lost four games in a row and sit in the 8th spot in the lottery. The back half of the lottery is congested, so a negatively streaking team skyrocket up the lottery and kick Memphis out of the top-8. For now, with Memphis losing to Cleveland, I’m sure they’re firmly entrenched in that spot.

Week 20 Schedule and Preview

Los Angeles Lakers @ Memphis Grizzlies Mon. Feb. 25, 8:00 PM ET/7:00 PM CT

Chicago Bulls @ Memphis Grizzlies Weds. Feb. 27, 8:00 PM ET/7:00 PM CT

Memphis Grizzlies @ Dallas Mavericks Sat. Mar. 2, 8:30 PM ET/7:30 PM CT

Memphis Grizzlies @ Oklahoma City Thunder Sun. Mar. 3, 7:00 PM ET/6:00 PM CT

Four games? In one week? After four games in the last two weeks? The Week-side Help appreciates the volume of basketball after the All-Star Break.

The Lakers in Playoff Mode, the Bulls after whooping us, while the Mavericks and Thunder have consistently solid all year, with the Thunder hitting a higher peak.

In his first game after the All-Star break, LeBron led a huge comeback alongside Scott Foster Brandon Ingram against the Houston Rockets. I’m so worried about going against LeBron when his back is against the wall like this. He’s made the playoffs every year for the past 75 years, I’m not going to bet against him or bet on the Grizzlies doing anything to stop him. Justin Holiday is going to guard him for goodness’ sake.

Yup, the Bulls are back for more after bullying us going into the All-Star break. More like the Chicago Bullies, am I right, folks? Regardless, the Bulls are still bad. They have 15 wins for the season and one was against us, there is no way they can beat us again, can they? CAN THEY??

Dallas is a scary opponent, but they’ve been reeling. They’ve lost 5 of their last 6 games dating back pre-All-Star break and they look a lot more geared towards the 2020s rather than this upcoming playoff hunt. Luka Doncic is still a-m-a-z-i-n-g. These teams will get real familiar with each other through the rest of the season, as they still have three matchups left in this campaign. Appreciate the Dirk Nowitzki moments while we have them.

Meanwhile, holy bleep Paul George has been on fire. His beautiful floater to win the double-overtime thriller against the Utah Jazz is yet another highlight in his MVP campaign. In the month of February, he’s been averaging 36.1 PPG, 8.4 RPG, 5.2 APG with .457/.405/.892 shooting splits. Doing all that with his defense? Man, this feels like peak basketball for a wing player. As for the MVP race, I thought it was Giannis-Harden-George in that order, but Paul George is the league’s best two-way player right now. His team is also performing a lot better in the standings than James Harden’s Rockets, which might garner him some more support from team-success oriented voters.

Playing against an MVP candidate, LeBron James, and the Rookie of the Year in one week. And yet I’m most afraid of the 15-win Bulls. The Grizzlies have broken me.

Have a good week, Memphis.

Follow @sbnGrizzlies