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John Konchar is not a 2009 Impala

The fourth-year shooting guard deserves to be treated like a Tesla

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NBA: Memphis Grizzlies-Media Day Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports

Drew Hill of The Daily Memphian wrote a story after Memphis Grizzlies’ media day about John Konchar. In that story, Hill included that Konchar just bought a new Tesla, ditching his old 2009 Chevy Impala. An Impala that he drove throughout his first three years with the Grizzlies. Now, trust me, I’ve already checked and the Impala is not around anymore, so sadly I can’t add it to my collection of Konchrelics.

And I understand that you’re sitting there wondering what on earth a 2009 Impala and a brand new Tesla have to do with Konchar’s player preview for the 2022-23 season.

Allow me to explain.

For his first three years in the league, Konchar’s been viewed by the league as that 2009 Impala. This year, he deserves to be viewed as the Tesla he’s been all along. With the departure of De’Anthony Melton this offseason, Konchar should have ample opportunity to showcase his skills at the shooting guard position. It’s essential this year for Konchar to continue to grow his confidence in his shot. Konchar has always shot efficiently (.615 eFG% in 2021-22) but doesn’t pull the trigger that often, averaging 3.6 shots a game in 2021-22. Melton contributed 9.5 shots per game last season, and with his shot now headed to Philly, that will provide an opening on offense. The question is whether Konchar is willing to step up and fill that void.

Konchar plays an unselfish brand of basketball. He rebounds extremely efficiently, finds teammates frequently and makes all the hard-nosed hustle plays that you need him to. But personally, I’d like to see Konchar become just a little bit more selfish. Now that his roster spot is pretty solidified, I’d love to see him take some shots that he typically wouldn’t in his first three years in the league. We saw a little bit of this play last year, as Konchar had some games where he’d be able to rack up some points, but the next step in his game is for him to become a double-digit points per game (PPG) scorer off the bench like Melton was last year.

NBA: Memphis Grizzlies-Media Day Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports

If John Konchar can average ten points and five rebounds per night pretty regularly, which is something I’m fairly confident in, that will be huge for the Grizzlies as a team. He was seventh on the team in win shares last year, while averaging only 4.8 PPG. If he can step up to become a larger volume scorer off the bench this year, the Grizzlies’ reserve unit could become even better than it already was this past season.

And while taking more shots may make Konchar less efficient, being willing to shoot the ball more frequently is a healthy step into becoming the Grizz’s primary backup two-guard. Even if it does mean some of that efficiency is lost.

The thing that won’t change from Konchar is his style of play. We’ll still see him hustling for the ball, running out in transition, rebounding and overall making neat sports plays. Konchar’s brand is to play hard, and he can serve as exactly the spark the Grizzlies need coming off the bench.

Konchar just signed a deal with Nike, and while a signature shoe may not be on the table (yet), the deal is yet another step in the journey that has been Konchar’s NBA career. His story is incredible, but it’s time for Konchar to take the next step up into becoming a real scoring threat alongside being a player that impacts winning in a positive way.

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