Site Manager Note - Welcome Owen Hewitt to GBB! He loves John Konchar - proof below.
A roster with depth is a must-have for any team with championship aspirations, and the Memphis Grizzlies know this well. Taylor Jenkins is not afraid to play his reserves, as the Grizzlies lead the NBA in bench minutes per game at 98.6. Those reserves average 38.3 bench points per game, the sixth-most in the NBA. John Konchar has been a valuable part of that Grizzlies’ reserve unit, especially in moments where the Grizzlies have been stretched thin by injury.
Konchar, who cemented his place on the roster in the 2020-21 season, has shown his value over a larger sample size in 2021-22. He’s appeared in all but 10 games for the Grizzlies this season, emerging as the team’s second-best three-point shooter behind second-year phenom Desmond Bane. Konchar is shooting .409 from beyond the arc on 115 attempts and has a true shooting percentage of .613 (per basketball-reference.com).
The third-year guard found his groove while star Ja Morant was injured in late November. In the stretch that Morant missed, Konchar averaged 17.6 minutes per game and shot .641 from the field while also shooting .650 from three. He also pulled in four rebounds per game and notched one steal on average during that 12 game stretch.
Konchar may be best known for his three-point shot, but rebounding and creating chances for himself near the basket is also a large aspect of Konchar’s game. Konchar ranks third on the team in total rebound percentage, a statistic that estimates the percentage of available rebounds a player grabs while he’s on the floor. He ranks first among guards on the team in offensive rebounding percentage, controlling 6.3% of available offensive rebounds (per StatMuse). Konchar averages 4.8 points per game, with 1.2 of those points on average being second-chance points.
While not the biggest volume scoring threat from night to night, Konchar is extremely efficient with the shots that he does take. 82.1% of Konchar’s shots come from either beyond the arc or within 0-3 feet of the basket. For those two types of shots, Konchar is shooting .407 and .733 respectively.
Konchar also provides versatility coming off the bench for Jenkins. While Konchar largely plays as a shooting guard, he’s also logged significant minutes this season at both point guard and small forward. Basketball Reference’s position estimate estimates that Konchar has played 38% of his minutes this season not at the two, with 20% being at point guard and 18% at small forward. In 2020-21, Konchar had an even larger portion of his minutes at small forward, playing the position an estimated 35% of the time he was on the floor.
This positional versatility is another aspect of what makes Konchar so valuable to this Grizzlies squad. When Dillon Brooks went down with an injury, Konchar saw his minutes per game increase to 20.5. He started four games over the 26 game stretch. In the six games that Konchar has started this season, the Grizzlies are 4-2.
One of those wins was a game against the league-leading Phoenix Suns in Phoenix, where Konchar logged a season-high 34 minutes and recorded seven points on 3-for-4 shooting from the field, as well as notching nine rebounds and two assists. His defensive presence was also felt as Konchar recorded two steals on the night.
Konchar may be essential to the Grizzlies as they try to lock up the Western Conference’s second seed without their superstar in Ja Morant. In one of the four games the Grizzlies have played since Morant was sidelined, Konchar tied a career-high in scoring with 18 in just 25 minutes off the bench against the Pacers, paired with eight rebounds. If this performance is any indication, Konchar will help to lift the production of the Grizzlies’ bench unit even higher through the rest of the season.
Stats found via Basketball Reference and Statmuse.