In what was one of the worst displays of offensive basketball we have seen in, well, days, the Memphis Grizzlies the Chicago Bulls. Both squads struggled to put the round ball through the round hoop on a consistent basis throughout much of the event that many say was a “basketball game” between two of the worst teams in the NBA. For Memphis, on any night where Mike Conley struggles like he did until the 4th quarter (21 points on 21 shots? That’s some old school Rudy Gay stuff) they are probably not going to have the most efficient offensive output. Zach Lavine (30 points) and the Bulls were able to take advantage a time or two more than Memphis, and those plays proved to be the difference.
What else can be taken away from this “basketball game”?
Avery Bradley really wants to get paid
Making the most of opportunity and Memphis go together like peas and carrots. Avery Bradley is yet another example of that coming to pass. 23 points, 7 rebounds, 7 assists, a team high in minutes played despite being a high usage offensive player while also defending the opponent’s biggest perimeter offensive threats (Zach Lavine and Otto Porter Jr. on this night)...his motor and scoring are impressive to watch. Bradley understands that the Grizzlies have minutes to burn, and he wants to make it clear he can play better than he did earlier this season in L.A. This Avery Bradley may well be worth almost $13 million a year...the problem is he doesn’t stick around long enough to collect the check.
Maybe the next six weeks will disprove that. Avery will certainly get his share of chances to do so.
Joakim Noah is still making an impact
Speaking of second chances! We continue to trend away from “wow, Joakim Noah is a great feel-good story on a bad team” and toward “wow, Joakim Noah is going to make a contender very happy next season”. Once again, even after a slow start, Joakim impacted the game on both ends of the floor (12 points, 9 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 blocks) and turned back the clock to a time where he was very handsomely paid for his basketball services. From being released/waived to likely getting to choose his next NBA destination (assuming he wants to chase a ring), the newfound appreciation for his spot as a pro is refreshing to see.
As a team/city where second chance stories seem to come in bunches, it’s probably time to chalk up Noah as another “job well done”.
- Tyler Dorsey played five minutes in this game and Jevon Carter played zero minutes. This doesn’t make a ton of sense...unless Carter was simply too fatigued from the Memphis Hustle game the night before to participate. Jevon is not without his flaws, but reps in meaningful NBA minutes are the best way for him to grow and develop. No offense to Tyler Dorsey, but Jevon should be seeing that time.
- Chandler Parsons shot 50% from the field! OK, he was 2-4, but at least he was not a net negative in terms of shooting percentage. You’d like to see a more complete contribution from him - only one assist is less than ideal - but positives are there, if you look hard enough. He even made a three! YES!
- Delon Wright needs to pick it up. If Memphis is the land of opportunity, Delon has yet to receive his invitation to the party in the mail from Toronto. He wasn’t bad, per se, but in 22 minutes you hope to have a bit more production from your 6th-ish man combo guard. 9 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists, a steal...a middle ground performance. That doesn’t get you a bigger pay day, though, and Delon must find his footing over these last games to show that when given the chance he can produce at a decent clip.
The Grizzlies, now 24-39 on the season, are off until Saturday night when they take on the Mavericks and Luka Doncic in Dallas. The game is scheduled to tip at 7:30 PM CT.