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Jan 24, 2014

Long Needed Update for 2014

RECAP

Sorry I have been really bad about following and posting about Grizzlies this season. It just happens sometimes where life gets busy and other hobbies take priority. I also don't have a lot to say when things are going well. Ok, this season has had its ups and downs. In particular, the team has struggled to find its way with a new identity that is more uptempo and scoring oriented than in the past. Also without Marc Gasol in the lineup, this team isn't the elite contender that anyone would expect to come out of our division. Thus, our record is a combined 0-10 so far against our peers in the southwest division (Dallas, Spurs, Rockets, Pelicans). Let's hope we can correct that starting tonight in a back-to-back against Houston the Rocket.

COURTNEY LEE

First of all, I am a huge fan of Courtney Lee so far. I watch almost every Celtics game since I live in the local market. I knew he was playing efficiently with a small number of minutes in Boston, but I had no idea he would bloom this way in Memphis. This shows what the human spirit is capable of achieving when someone believes in you.

POINT GUARD SITUATION

Next I want to comment on a subject that has been bothering me. I hear a lot of rumor talk about the need for a backup point guard on the Memphis Grizzlies, especially with the departure of Jerryd Bayless. Since I never considered him an option for the position I don't see how this is suddenly relevant at this time. This is especially true considering that we have a decorated veteran prototypical point guard just waiting to earn his minutes in Nick Calathes. I decided to conduct my own study.

My little study is very simple. I sorted the NBA teams by winning percentage obviously to get a glimpse of the best record teams in order, and then compared this with the average number of assists of the TOP2 assist leaders on each team. Regardless of what position they play, if teams are getting assists and it correlates to win percentage, then it would be obvious that the Grizzlies would benefit from having a better assist man on the team. Here are the results of this study in these charts:

Memphis currently on this date is sitting right at a 0.500 win percentage (20 wins, 20 losses). So they are still on the outside looking in. If you notice on the assist chart we are sitting right at the bottom of a dip in the assists totals. The Grizzlies fall outside of 1.126 standard deviations of the rest of the league. This puts us in the bottom 26% of the league. Despite my gut-feeling that we are fine with our number of assists from our leading players, it appears that we are well below the league norm.

The million dollar question (I mean that quite literally) now for the franchise is whether increasing that statistic would lead to an improved record, and all the ancillary benefits that entitles a team to. The fact remains that the number of assists DOES NOT correlate to the win percentage. The correlation coefficient between the datasets is 0.372, which is pretty weak. Note: the close to 1.0, the "better" the correlation; the closer to zero, the "worse". The data supports this interpretation. Even Indiana, with the league best record, has the 3rd worst assist total behind only Milwaukee and Boston. Plus, there are other ways to increase your team assist numbers than by simply having a talented backup point guard. Some of the teams second-in-command assist leaders include Portland's Nick Batum, Spurs' Manu Ginobli, and the Clippers' Blake Griffin. These certainly are not point guards! But they find a way to get the job done. An example of a stat that would likely exhibit a near perfect correlation to win percentage would be assist-to-turnover ratio. Sheer number of assists doesn't lead to wins... That's kind of a head scratcher but it shows there are other ways to get the job done which include rebounding, winning the points in the paint, free throw disparity, fast break conversions, etc.

Whether the Grizzlies get a back up point guard or not is not the issue for me. If they were to make a move the primary emphasis in my opinion is getting high-caliber, dynamic players such as Courtney Lee or an O.J. Mayo.

Go Grizz!