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Week-side Help: Week 25 - Divine #9

In the penultimate Week-side Help, Memphis finally captures the elusive #9 spot in the lottery...for a day.

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

Week 25 Results

Memphis Grizzlies 89 (31-47) @ Portland Trail Blazers 116 Recap | Box Score

Memphis Grizzlies 122 (32-47) @ Dallas Mavericks 112 Recap | Box Score

Dallas Mavericks 129 @ Memphis Grizzlies 127 (OT) (32-48) Recap | Box Score

Week 25 Storylines

-Vanderbilt University has hired Memphis assistant Jerry Stackhouse to be their new head coach, according to Stadium’s and The Athletic’s Shams Charania.

-C Jonas Valanciunas was ruled out for the remainder of the season on Monday with a grade II right ankle sprain.

-Memphis waived G Dusty Hannahs and signed C Tyler Zeller for the remainder of the season.

Required Reading: GBB’s Shawn Coleman with a great look on how Memphis did something they haven’t in a while: play well on offense. How the month of March was an offensive resurgence for the Grizzlies. | GBB’s Parker Fleming goes through multiple scenarios in the offseason where Mike Conley could be traded. Just like Mike’s versatility, there is a WIDE variety of situations that could work.

Week 25 Thoughts

-I know everyone imagined Jerry Stackhouse as the future head coach of the Grizzlies, but he was a coveted assistant a year ago and nothing changed that made him a lesser commodity. He was always going to be sought after for head coaching jobs, even if it was a surprise that his opportunity comes at the college level. Good luck to Jerry Stackhouse, just please don’t steal Memphis recruits.

-I don’t think this necessarily impacts Bickerstaff’s position on the team in either direction. An assistant ready to be promoted like Stackhouse would have been nice to fall back on if Bickerstaff was let go, but it likely wouldn’t have made a difference. Now if GM Chris Wallace is let go after this season, that would definitely change the calculus of this franchise.

-Chandler Parsons was our best player against the Portland Trail Blazers. A real thing that happened in 2019. Imagine how the game would be if he had a bad shooting night!

-The loss was a negative in the conveying aspect, but I don’t think there’s anything to learn about the team from that Portland game. It was almost a throwaway with how many injuries and inactive players there were on Monday. That being said...

-Boy howdy did Enes Kanter torch Ivan Rabb on Monday. Rabb is talented. The things that he does well are done with the smoothness and basketball IQ of a 10-year vet. But his frame at its current state will always put him at a disadvantage when guarding the biggest of the big men like Kanter. I don’t want to knock Rabb for being slighter because it’s not something he can just fix overnight, but it is the reality of the situation. I’m still a believer in him, though.

-Very high-key in love with Delon Wright. How did we get so lucky to have a good backup PG and how did we get so unlucky to have him in an noncompetitive year? With the offensive void created by no Mike Conley and no JV, he stepped up with a triple-double in an important win in Dallas. I wrote this about Friday’s game, but he did the same thing Sunday against Dallas (albeit in a loss). Two triple-doubles in two games? Russell who?

NBA: Memphis Grizzlies at Dallas Mavericks Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

-Memphis playing a relatively meaningless game without Mike Conley or JV opposite Wrestlemania. There couldn’t be two more opposite ends of the entertainment spectrum.

-Sunday was Dirk’s likely last game in Memphis. Shout out to a legend who absolutely torched us for the better part of two decades. Also, would be absolutely hilarious if he just came back next year because he never actually announced any retirement plans.

-A legend that torches the Mavericks, though? Jevon Carter, surprisingly enough. In all three of his games against Dallas, he’s scored double-digit points. 15, 10, and 10. A strong accomplishment for a player who shot 25.3% from the field heading into Sunday’s game.

-8 players scored double-digit points for the Grizzlies Sunday night. Basketball socialism! It (kind of) works!

-Salah Mejri didn’t have to do all of that to us, to be honest. The game-tying put back was enough, the dunk and three-pointer in overtime was icing on the cake.

-Remember that 2015-16 Grizzlies team that was riddled with a near-comical amount of injuries and still managed to make the playoffs? Well, with Tyler Zeller logging his first minutes as a Grizzly, this year’s Memphis team has now played the same amount of players as that 15-16 squad: 28

-TWENTY-EIGHT!

Protection Inspection

4/7 NBA Lottery Standings via tankathon.com
tankathon.com

For a single day, Memphis was at #9 in the lottery, finally, mercifully, out of the top-8 where they keep their pick. For the first time in the long history of Protection Inspection. That was fun while it lasted, before Memphis lost to Dallas on Sunday night. Now, Memphis stands tied for 7th with the Mavericks (whose pick goes to Atlanta if it’s outside the top-5).

The win on Friday night was huge, though. All Memphis had to do was not lose both to Dallas considering how close they are to each other in the standings. But Sunday’s game was touch to stomach. The comeback they allowed in the 4th just demoralized the team in overtime and energized the Mavericks. They were down 7 early in overtime and had to claw their way back, unsuccessfully. Memphis might have (understandably) had an empty tank. With how congested 6th-9th continues to be, a good night (a win and a WAS/NOP/DAL loss in their final games) could put them right back in sole ownership of the 9th spot. But things look perilous for now with just two remaining games, both against playoff teams.

Week 26 Schedule and Preview

Memphis Grizzlies @ Detroit Pistons Tues. Apr. 9th 7:00 PM ET/6:00 PM CT

Golden State Warriors @ Memphis Grizzlies Weds. Apr. 10th 8:00 PM ET/7:00 PM CT

Why ending the year on a back-to-back is allowed is beyond me, but who cares, let’s put this painful season to an end.

On Tuesday, Memphis travels to Detroit to play a playoff team that seems to be struggling at the wrong time. They are losers of four in a row and have gone 3-7 in their last 10 games. Blake Griffin has been good enough to warrant an All-NBA selection, but he’s been dealing with some injuries that have caused him to miss some games. His first game back? 45 points on the Thunder’s heads. His next game? A weak 16 points on 5-18 shooting. Hopefully, Memphis gets bad Blake.

NBA: Detroit Pistons at Memphis Grizzlies Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

The Pistons are likely to be in the playoffs, but they haven’t clinched yet. They’re going to absolutely need a win on Tuesday night. A better team with more incentive to win should win...but Memphis’ results are ever hardly what should happen. They are either worst-case scenario results or results that were never even planned. “Who knows?” -- the official motto of Grizzlies basketball.

And for the grand finale, the Golden State Warriors! They may have the #1 seed in the West locked up by then, so we may just be getting the reserves while the stars rest. The Grizzlies’ unpredictability coupled with the the uncertainty of who is playing makes this a toss-up. When in doubt, just assume the Warriors are winning. That philosophy has never* failed.

*- since 2016

Have a good week, Memphis.

Follow @sbnGrizzlies