The Grizzlies Weathered The Storm And Are Looking Harmful
When ruling NBA Rookie of the Year Ja Morant suffered a left ankle sprain in late December, the Memphis Grizzlies were in a treacherous position. Morant’s injury came (very) early in the season, leaving the group with time to recuperate. However, lots of saw the Grizzlies as merely a fringe playoff contender and, with a possible three-to-five week absence for the team’s finest gamer in conjunction with continuous injuries for Jaren Jackson Jr. and Justise Winslow, the margin for error was slim for Taylor Jenkins’ team.
Practically on hint, the Grizzlies lost four of the next 5 games, falling to 2-6, and hesitation reigned on a nationwide scale. Even in a season that is producing highly unstable outcomes for myriad reasons, Memphis dealt with a considerable uphill fight, particularly with Morant not yet back on the court. Then, the pieces began falling into place for the Grizzlies, starting with an unanticipated home win over the Brooklyn Internet on Friday, Jan. 8. That success did come over a short-handed variation of the Internet, led by Caris LeVert, but Memphis did what they needed to do in order to emerge victorious and, almost two weeks later on, the Grizzlies haven’t lost because.
Memphis chose up their 5th successive win on MLK Day, outlasting the Phoenix Suns in a nationally televised contest. That efficiency was a sign the Grizzlies’ recent success, with 7 gamers scoring in double figures and a 8th gamer (Gorgui Dieng) including an efficient eight points in simply 15 minutes. Approved, the return of Morant, who has actually played the last two games, was massive for Memphis, but the Grizzlies played without arguably their second-best player in Jonas Valanciunas on Monday, and they had the ability to win anyway.
Obviously, Morant is still a significant catalyst for the Grizzlies, and much of this early-season period was just about weathering the storm up until he returned. Memphis handled to publish a 4-4 record in his absence, which was big even in a small sample, and Morant is averaging 22.6 points and 7 helps per game, all while shooting 53 percent from the floor at the lead guard position. It is indisputable the method Morant sets the tone for this Memphis group, something on display to liquidate Monday’s win over Phoenix over a rather sensational 3 play stretch.
In other places, the style has been quality depth, with 12 players currently taking the floor for a minimum of 100 minutes this season. The team’s second-leading scorer, Dillon Brooks, has in fact had a hard time to the tune of 37 percent shooting in 2020-21 and, as kept in mind formerly, Valanciunas missed Monday’s game and he is in the NBA’s health and wellness procedure for an undefined time period.
From there, however, Memphis is coaxing top-level play from its supporting cast. Brandon Clarke is balancing 13.2 points and 6.1 rebounds per video game, discovering his effectiveness offensively during the group’s five-game winning streak. Kyle Anderson served as the team’s de facto backup point player in Morant’s lack and, using his length and general acumen, Anderson’s protective effect has been considerable for the Grizzlies. Grayson Allen brings severely required flooring spacing, both in shooting 36 percent from three-point range and just needing to be safeguarded by the opposition. It was also useful for the team to have a steady hand in Tyus Jones at the point guard spot, with the veteran bringing stability even as he battles with shooting effectiveness issues in the early going.
Perhaps the biggest infusion for the Grizzlies gets here from the team’s novice class. It has actually long been a running joke that Memphis runs with “Draft Twitter” in mind, targeting a number of beloveds of the analytical and scouting communities in current years. That was certainly the case in 2020 with the selections of Desmond Bane and Xavier Tillman and, right on time, both are contributing at a lofty level in their first professional seasons.