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Nov 7, 2013

Week 1 2013-2014: What's Going on?

The Grizzlies find themselves winless against Southwest Division opponents and with a losing record after 1 week of action. Their preseason was unspectacular but for a playoff team or contender this hardly is an area of concern. Starting out slowly for a veteran team isn't much to fuss over either, but the quality of the opponents and the manner in which they've been losing has many starting to question whether this team can go the distance under the new leadership of Assistant Coach Dave Joerger, promoted to relieve Lionell Hollins of head coaching duties over the offseason.

First I present my anecdotal evidence, then I will look at the stats to see if anything jumps out.

  1. Off the bat you can see the Grizzlies are struggling with the new uptempo offense. This was thought to unleash their scoring potential in response to their "stuck in the mud" offense that had them go OH AND FOUR in the Western Conference Finals, just a couple months ago. The number of turnovers and the numerous 100 point onslaughts sufferred at their opponents so far in the first 5 games is testament to the failure of this new system. Can the ship be righted? Absolutely! But one would think returning their focus to their league-leading defense (3 players in the all-defensive teams last season) should be at the crux of their return to glory. I think a few people on the bench and starters are most responsible for these declines in running the uptempo offense and failing to defend properly.

    First culprit is Mike Conley. I will explain his issues through stats in the next section. The other factors are that we're not feeding the post and thus ZBO/Gasol are not dominating any games so far. This team won't get out of the bottom of the league without them: they are our bread and butter. The last factor is the decline in the bench and the absence of what we termed last year, THE ZOO CREW. This year's bench has new faces that aren't pulling their weight (Miller / Calathes), and guys from last year that were on the rise and instead have declined (Qpon / Ed Davis). Jerryd Bayless has shown promise, single-handedly defeating the Celtics the other night, but his role with the team has taken a turn for the worst again as he is still being thrown back and forth between SG and PG. What's so bad about seeing this as a long time Grizzlies fan is that we've seen this story before with O.J. Mayo. That ended in an ugly divorce!

  2. Now the stats. Mike Conley has decent numbers if you look at this pts, rebounds, assist, turnovers. But check his plus minus. -5.2 : that is your margin of loss right there. That equals "defeat" on most nights. I don't know how to fully describe it but Conley just doesn't look fluid out there running in my opinion and the plays are not generating enough points. And on the defense side he's getting torched. Dallas, Detroit, NOLA, and San Antonio all torched him. Compare that to Tony Allen's +1.5 per game. Tony is shooting over 50 from the field and 42% from 3... maybe he needs more minutes? Who is taking his minutes? Jerryd Bayless. He's got a decent +2.0 on the court, however his shooting percentages are at 38%. Thats' well below team average...

    ZBO. Decent percentage of points. Decent rebounding, but significantly lower than his usual numbers. and a frightening -3.2 plus minus...

    Tayshaun Prince is hanging tough while Marc Gasol is tanking with a -6.0. This is rotten.

    Time for the worst Grizzlies player of the week award: Quincy Pondexter. The man is only hitting 3 out of 10 shots at 31% and giving up a -10.0 plus minus to the competition. No wonder his minutes are down.

Like I said, it's very early, and these problems are solvable. But can this personnel weather the storm and make the right moves to achieve success? The challenges are significant, but that's what makes it fun to watch!

  • Go Grizz!
  • Sep 25, 2013

    Number One Franchise in Sports: Grizzlies!?!

  • Grizzlies No. 1 ESPN Survey - based on a poll ranking categories such as stadium experience, trust in ownership, bang for your buck, and title expectations - the Grizz came out on top for 2013!

    Baby, we've come a long way! Once described by Hall of Fame coach Phil Jackson as "Dresden after the war", Memphis is now the jewel of the Nile, or Mississippi.

    To me it only makes sense. The city believes. The people have passion and it's grown organically from the Gasols to the ZBOs and everyone in between. "We in the mud." It just kind of sticks and is "hip" enough to reverberate between street culture, corporate brass, and civic pride.

    You always have felt like the Grizzlies were going places. They'd always be under the radar but at some point we had to catch a break despite the 2003 draft/lottery, Stroshow and Thabeet, Allen Iverson backfire, and the departure of Jerry West. I would have never put us all the way up at "NUMBER ONE" but all things considered, damn it feels good to be a Grizzly! (now I just need to make a youtube video with the Gheto Boys song to Grizz highlights...)

    Go Grizz!
  • Jul 25, 2013

    RELOADED!

  • Bleacher report - Getting Nostalgic about Miller's First Stint with Memphis Grizzlies

    MIKE MILLER #33

    The Grizzlies 6th Man Award Winner is back! The two back-to-back titles don't hurt either. As a full-time Grizzlies fan and part-time Celtics fan, living up here in New England, it really hurt me to watch Ray Allen, Shane Battier, and Miller in the 2013 Finals this year. I feel like Battier could have stayed here and helped us over the top. Ray Allen left Boston for the team that just narrowly beat them the previous season for their first title and then helps push them back for a second. That's ice cold, man. No love for nobody but himself. Miller however has been a journeyman since he left Memphis in the trade to Minnesota with draft rights of Kevin Love for the draft rights of O.J. Mayo and a bunch of other bad expiring contracts.

    In other words, I kinda forgive Miller because after all he is best friends with Udonis Haslem and has strong ties to south Florida. Battier and Allen are just plain sell outs. Allen's ties were to New England and Connecticut. Battier is from Detroit and Duke. Just went for the path of least resistance along with the Chosen One.

    Miller has a great reputation in Memphis, so expect a warm homecoming for the back court bomber. His charity work with St. Jude is unbelievable. His shooting is among the league's best, which could help the Grizzlies find a new identity as a defensive stalwart with an explosive offense. Looking at his raw stats last year, he really was about the same as Ray Allen. Think how valuable a player like that is on offense. Also consider Miller shot from downtown with better success than Kevin Durant, Dirk Nowitzki, Klay Thompson, and O.J. Mayo. All those guys had great shooting seasons. He's elite.

    Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images Mike Miller launches one of his franchise-record nine 3-pointers in Memphis' 144-135 regulation win over the Warriors. Farewell, grind-it-out Grizzlies of the departed Mike Fratello. Hello, Tony Barone's gunners.
    - ESPN

    The Other Guys

    Kosta Koufos - OK initially I didn't like this player at all. I assumed they drafted him just because he came from the same school as Greg Oden because I didn't see any talent in him ever. He seems to have developed good rebounding skills in Denver recently and has the ability to hit putbacks and not turnover the ball too often. I still don't really see him as much more than another Jake Tsakilidis, but let's just hope for the best. I'm over my anger at the trade of Darrell Arthur and now just want to see him succeed - although it will take me a while to get used to seeing him in a Grizzlies uniform this season.

    Nick Calathes - Here is another Greek-American. I wonder if Robert Pera has some kind of Greek ties or is it Levien? Who knows. Well if you're like most people you dont' remember this guy since he played an outstanding Freshman season at Univerity of Florida during their descent back to mediocrity. Yes after all those studs left in 2007 after winning back-to-back championships, the Gators didn't have much left but this guy. He disappeared in Europe for the last couple years but he's come back out as a champion there. Now everyone is comparing him to the Bob Cousy award winner that we all hate to have lost here in Memphis, Greveis Vasquez. They do have a similar size and position. If we can get the results of 2012 Vasquez out of him then management will look like genius in this pickup. Expect him to still have to carry Miller's bags as the upper classman.

    Jamaal Franklin - Dleague fodder. I don't know if he'll get more than Tony Wroten minutes this year unless they blow this up by trading ZBO or Prince.

    Josh Akognon - I honestly have never heard of this guy before today. He joins other fellow Nigerian American players, Al-Farouq Aminu and Ike Diogu. His numbers are off the chart but such a small sample size in NBA... Who knows? Training Camp is going to be fun this year!

    Go Grizz!
  • Jun 12, 2013

    Off to the Offseason

    This blog hasn't been getting nearly as much attention as this year's playoffs have deserved. I suppose I haven't had a lot to pontificate on when things are going swimmingly. The sweep in the Spurs series just left me in a state of stasis. The games were so close, including 2 overtime games, you can't really say the Grizzlies just didn't show up, but losing four in a row is a pretty sound beating. Being there for game3 of the WCF in person, by pure luck, since I bought my plane ticket months in advance, not even knowing if the Grizzlies would make it out of round 1 again... Yeah it was a huge disappointment to me to come that far only to see them lose again. So I haven't felt like posting on the blog lately.

    That'll all change once we turn to the offseason moves and we can nitpick every decision and ponder the realm of possibilities. First off, the head coaching vacancy left by Lionel Hollins. Great article on the Memphis Flyer covers it:

  • Coach Hollins Situation.

    The Grizzlies will get it going again next season because tough times don't last, and tough bears do. Stay cool out there this summer!

    Go Grizz!
  • May 19, 2013

    THEN and NOW

    2011 Spurs vs Grizzlies :: Round 1 Playoff Match

    2013 Spurs vs Grizzlies :: Western Converence FINALS

    Bonus Video :: WHOOP DAT TRICK

    Go Grizz!

    May 16, 2013

    Gonna Fly Now

    This was the highlight of the season up til this point, which underscores the fact that today is the high point of the Memphis Grizzlies franchise.







    Go Grizz!

    May 15, 2013

    Grizz in the Press

    Now all the 2nd round games are more than 50% over, regardless of the outcome. 4 games have been played in all 4 series. The conference finals picture and potential NBA finals picture is getting pretty clear. It comes with a surreal giddiness to discover a lot of people turning their heads to our beloved team! Here are just some of the stories worth reading:

    Can you believe it? Front cover of SI for Mike!
    Go Grizz!

    May 12, 2013

    Crazy Bunch of Competitive Guys

  • GAME3 RECAP - Grizz 87 - OKC 81

    Grizzlies are just so tough at home. Even a bad game is a win. But they will be going back to Oklahoma with a tied series at 2-2 if they don't improve in the next home game on Monday. This is the tipping point of the series. If they can stay tough they'll really have some momentum on the Thunderboomers.

    Grizzlies ZOO CREW bench is stepping up. That is so far the XFactor. Conley and the starters are matching the OKC team but no one like ZBO is completely dominating. But with all their contributions collectively it looks like the Memphis Grizzlies have the upper hand so far.

    Go Grizz!
  • May 1, 2013

    Game 5: Knockout Blow!

  • Grizzlies deliver knockout blow - steal game 5 on the Clippers home court. Chance to close the series at home on Friday night. You know the Grindhouse will be infuego!



    "This is becoming the Harlem Globetrotters versus the Washington Generals" – TNT announcer, NBA Hall of Famer, Reggie Miller during the 3rd quarter.





    The Memphis Grizzlies do not stop!

    That could be the end of the Vinny Del Negro era and these Clippers as we know them.

    The Clippers could be broken for good.

    The clippers 10 game win streak that had amassed from the end of regular season to the 2 home wins to open this series has reversed itself into what is now a 3 game losing streak. Can they possibly be grounded for good in a fourth straight defeat on Friday night? We shall see! The only people giving LA a chance now are probably themselves and possibly not even their coaches. They will be a dangerous opponent with their backs against the wall, but it feels like they already hit the panic button last night in desperation as they foresaw the inevitable coming up over the horizon. This could very well be Memphis' time to shine.

    Magic Johnson was lamenting how the NBA is a "loser" this year for not having Kobe, Rose, Rondo, and Westbrook. The best aren't here to showcase at the end of the season. It hurts the NBA because now teams like guess who? Memphis, Indiana, Brooklyn, and such "3rd rate" franchises will get a shot at playing on towards June. Now you can add Blake Griffin to that list I think along with David Lee and Amare Stoudamire (remember him?). America has always been about the underdog though, Magic. Remember the #BostonStrong rally started somewhere around Bunker Hill in 1775.

    This isn't something new! This is old, and gritty! This is Grizzlies basketball!!!

    Go Grizz!
  • Apr 24, 2013

    2012-2013 Defensive Player of the Year!

  • GASOL DPOY! It's been a long time since Mike Miller took the 6th man award for the Grizzlies. Before that it was Shane Battier and Pau Gasol for Rookie of the Year. And a Coach of the Year for Hubie Brown. Yep, it's been a long time!

    This should be motivation for the game tomorrow night! Ignite the Grindhouse with a trophy presentation. Then clip those Floppers! let's win the next 16 quarters of this series and never look back!

    Go Grizz!
  • Apr 11, 2013

    Grind it out

  • Grizzlies offering free beer? – in honor of tax day!? Monday April 15th they giving away beer at the Forum in Memphis, TN! GOODBYE, BLUE MONDAY!
  • Tour de Grizz

    Always a great affair! Even more critical is the home game Saturday night against the Clippers. Home court advantage in round1 may be at stake! How do I put this nicely? "PAYBACK IS A BITCH!"

    QUINCY IS A BEAST

    Go Grizz!
  • Apr 5, 2013

    Track Meet!


  • How far do you run in different sports?
    Many NBA teams have started using a system called SportVU, a specialized motion tracking system that enabling teams to get far more detailed stats about their players. In the 2012 season, the player that ran the farthest per game was Luol Deng of the Chicago Bulls, who averaged 2.72 miles per game.
    — Brent Rose, Gizmodo.
    This is pretty fascinating to me as an avid runner. I always wondered how much you run in various sports. I like to shoot hoops by myself for the most part, and chase rebounds from all my misses. It seems to really help my running and coniditoning too. So when they refer to a game as a "track meet" between teams in the NBA - you know it. 2.72 miles per game of mostly sprinting? That is impressive.
    I would not want to face Mike Conley, Jr.; Tony Allen; Jerryd Bayless, and Tony Wroten in a foot race. They would smoke me I"m sure! Now a half-marathon? Maybe I'd have a chance if they didn't prepare for it at all! Persistence hunting! Yo! I ain't never going bear hunting though. I love them too much. Check this track meet:
    Jay Williams, Duke and NBA player, represents well for a guy in retirement from his sport.
    Grizzlies. Almost at the second season. Let's get a little win streak going through tonight at Staples and push those Lakers out of the 8th spot.
    Go Grizz!


  • Mar 29, 2013

    Grizz Shall Rise Again

    This blasphemous post comes to you amidst one of the Grizzlies longest losing streaks of the season. However, I'm not concerned. They have secured a playoff berth. All that matters now is contending and playing through May. Whenever this Grizzlies unit gets down, they quickly get back up. This is the calm before the storm. Have no fear, Grizz will emerge from his lair, with the golden rays of the portentous vestiges of summer shining down on his glory… … … ok, ok, just more of this please:

    Denver Trip Report

  • Nuggets Get Win Over Grizzlies, 87-80

    Now my Grizzlies road game tour for 2013 is over for at least the regular season... I just got back from Denver last week although the game was 2 weeks ago now on Friday March 15th. We had about 3 hours to kill in downtown Denver on Friday in 70°F heat wave weather. Just the most amazing scene down at Great Divide Brewing, highly recommended. During this time I never once saw anyone with Nuggets paraphernalia, so I'm thinking, "gee, that's too bad they don't support their team, they're so good this year too."

    Wrong. When I arrive at the Pepsi Center the place is wall to wall Nuggets jerseys. Not just Iguodala and old Melo jerseys either. No, in additon to Iggy it was Lawson, Faried, Galinari, and the occasional Andre Miller. Also there were old school retro jerseys everywhere as well. Their jersey wearing rivals only Boston Celtics fans, who, in my experience, are the most die hard I've seen. The game was close all the way until the end. But the Grizzlies never really had control. Nuggets lead would build but Grizzlies always closed in. In the final moments the Nuggets had it in the bag though and we split during free throws of the final seconds to avoid the huge crowds and tuck our tails. I was sporting Grizzlies 2011 Playoff shirt, hat, and wrist bands of course. My wife and friend both had Grizz gear too. There were actually some fans to the right and behind us as well.

    This environment was a little more hostile than I'm used to. We actually play in the same conference and fighting for playoff position right now. I started going on a rant about how our bigs will dominate them in the end. They have no one to stop Gasol: Koufos + Magoo are garbage players. ZBO is just a level above Faried at this point. ZBO is his daddy. A guy in front of me turns around and you can tell he takes objection to my rant and stops me with, "OK WHO LEADS THE NBA IN POINTS IN THE PAINT?". .....Busted. I had to just say, "yep, you're right." But I was thinking it over first. I couldn't remember exactly the rankings off the top of my head, but I had to give him the point.

    In the end the Grizz played admirably on the road in a hostile environment at elevation. Believe me, the elevation is killer. I had to stop drinking alcohol on the second day there. It just totally messes with you and the climate is freakishly different than the humidity we're used to in Memphis and New England this time of year (rain + snow everywhere right now).

    So I pay my respect to the Denver Nuggets fans and their team. Really hard as nails and fun place to visit. Top of the Rockies? Hard to beat it.

    Go Grizz!
  • Mar 14, 2013

    TAY-R-DACTYL

    Not much to say when the team is winning! Are you ready for Denver? I'm stumped that the Grizz won first in Portland on road and then back-to-back in the Staples Center. Amazing. Although now I see how the Blazers are starting to tank. Seeing Utah against OKC and Toronto against Boston tanking last night was sad too. But Happy days for Nation of Grizzlam.

    I hear a lot of discussion about playoff potential matchups. I went through the entire Grizzlies schedule this year and made this chart:

    1st - Spurs 1-2
    2nd - OKC 1-1
    4th - Clippers 1-2
    5th - Denver 1-2
    6th - Warriors 3-0
    7th - Rockets 1-1
    8th - Lakers 2-0
    9th - Utah 2-0
    10th - Dallas 1-1
    That above is the Western standings of the top 10 - Grizz sit currently in 3rd place. Right column is the grizzlies win-loss against each team.

    You notice we beat up on the bottom 5, but struggle with the top 4. Losing record against them all. So if you look at it in a microscope you'd conclude, "Grizzlies should win a series and then get stomped in 2nd round of playoffs this year". But who knows - this is a team that completely redid itself midseason. I think all bets are off until the playoffs get here. I think Grizz have a great shot - -- - but it won't be easy! Grizz will have to continue to gel, gain momentum, and have some pure luck along the way (paws on the balls).

    Let's just get another win Friday night baby!

    Go Grizz!

    Feb 27, 2013

    Memphis on My Mind

  • Grizzlies Mavs Preview – another big game tonight. Welcome back Mayo!
  • POWER RANKINGS – Courtesy of 3sob.com

    Oh goodness, did I have a great a time in Brooklyn this weekend? The Nets didn't really, and Grizzlies fans were holding their breath. But the final result was another grindout. Another tally to the winstreak we got going again. It's time to start really pushing for the second season. Things are really coming together. When they need a bucket, someone gets one. When they need a stop, they get it.

    This was a weird game on Sunday against Brooklyn. Joe Johnson was out and they start CJ Miles. What happened to Marshon Brooks? He came off the bench in 2nd half and torched us. Although looking at the boxscore I guess he didn't convert as many buckets as I thought. I am biased since he is a recent product from Providence, RI - and I catch some of their games here in Rhode Island. It was pretty cool though - I met another big basketball fan who does broadcasting of some sort for the Providence Friars, who shared the bus ride home with me. I raised the question about the BIG EAST basketball.

    Last night you might have seen the Memphis Tigers on ESPN2. To be honest, it was my first time seeing them this season. I must have jinxed them because they lost to lowly Xavier, who I watched also last week play twice against none other than University of Rhode Island and VCU. The commentators mentioned how University Memphis is among the quickest and most athletic in the country. I thought, "then how the heck can they be losing this bad to an awful team that barely beat URI which is the bottom of their conference?" (Xavier / URI was really close until the final minutes when Xavier pulled away to a wide margin, but it was much closer than Memphis was in the first half!!)

    The answer of course... GRIT GRIND. They couldn't grind it out. Grind is not just "struggling" to survive. Grind is hard work. Grind is also concentration, teamwork, and commitment. It's making free throws. It's helping on defense. It's making the right pass, taking it to the hole, or pulling up at just the right time. It seems simple but I think they put a tremendous amount of practice into it collectively. See: Gasol: Skilled in all ways of contending. The Grizzlies are marked across the league as being the big bruisers and a physical presence. They trade away the most athletic freak on the team, Rudy Gay. But I think just as important to their game is mental and calculating. It's the real difference between Win and Loss.

    Go Grizz!
  • Feb 18, 2013

    Only in Memphis

    This is the "We Don't Bluff City", home of the GRINDFATHER, TA09. The MACBO50 is lethal deadly weapon; probably want to get your hands on one before they ban them. I just finally got my SLAM magazine framed and hung in the Grizzlies shrine:

    It's not serious; it's very serious.

    If you missed the Allstar game. Then you missed nothing. Except ZBO was there. And Kyrie Irving. That kid! Terrance Ross was good. Faried good. Allstars?

    I have to start with a prediction. Grizzlies will lose the Raptors by 5 points Wednesday night and everyone will freak out. Then they will win big in Orlando Friday. And follow that performance with a 2 point win in Brooklyn on Sunday.

    It is essential that all bears remain hungry for the duration of the season!

    TIP-IN:

  • Custom Grizzlies Designs - check out my man's site here for some rad Grizz gear.
    Go Grizz!
  • Feb 13, 2013

    Addition by Subtraction?

  • Grizzlies and Prince – Keeping the Faith
  • Rudy Gay Does it Again – Hitting game-winners in a Raptors uniform
  • Celtics on 7-game roll - even without Rondo – Paul Pierce has helped lead the C's despite the loss of their allstar point guard

    Let me say it plainly, this is the optimist talking, with the recent moves these teams are improved by reduction in payroll and staff. As Coach Lionell Hollins called it, the beer budget is actually working so far. Contradictorily, you swap out the Lamborghini for a BMW and it's better short-term, even though primary motivation is long-term health.

    In the month of February the Grizzlies have gone 4-2, losing their one road game in ATL. The Celtics have gone 5-1, with the loss coming the night after the 3OT thriller, and best game of the season so far. The Raptors have also gone 4-2 in February with impressive wins over 3 bonafide playoff teams.

    For the Grizzlies you have a lot of things going. An entire book could be written to compare Rudy Gay versus Tayshaun Prince on this team, and going forward. For now the results speak for themselves. The team is winning more than losing, which translates to playoffs instead of draft lottery. They call the Speights/Ellington/Selby trade a trade that brought back Leuer and a guy named Tony Wroten, Jr. He had more minutes in the Dleague than on our squad. Now he's getting regular minutes.

    Jerryd Bayless has stepped up into the O.J. Mayo role more than the Greivis Vasquez role, which I think is a better utilization of his talent. Darrell Arthur is now essential. Obviously the team is fully dependent on the production of the big men in the front court now. When Gasol and ZBO go off, no team will beat us. The sky is the limit.


    Unbelievably, the Celtics went on a huge win streak immediately following the loss of Rajon Rondo. Paul Pierce has taken over as the point guard and gets close to a triple double every night. Courtney Lee, Avery Bradley, and Jason Terry have all stepped up in the back court. Jeff Green is simply having a coming out party since Rondo went down. You wonder if somehow he was intimidated by Rondo, but really it's just an opportunity to step up that all of them have embraced.


    The Raptors are in a different boat. Before the trade they were a cellar dweller. Now they have some life in them. I wouldn't call them a playoff team yet, but their recent wins have been very impressive. They are in the conversation with Rudy Gay. At this point you may ask, how are they "addition by subtraction"? Well, in this case they mortgage some of their future and let go of a guy that spent his entire career there since 2005. That was a loss of Jose Calderon and Ed Davis. Calderon was obsolete already since they plucked Kyle Lowry from Houston over the summer, but Lowry's been hurt a lot this season. Ed Davis is one of those big University of North Carolina products. He has been around 3 years, and saw his numbers increase about 50% this year. Just when he was ready for prime time, off he goes to Memphis. The real beneficiaries on the Raptors from this trade are Derozen, Terrence Ross, and Alan Anderson. They are the real gunners of this team now paired with Lowry and Rudy Gay, they are free to shoot. Finally this team isn't built around Bargnani and random journeymen…

    FIRST

    SECOND

    Go Grizz!
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