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    09/07/2011 10:47 PM
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    12/02/2020 9:16 AM

2013/14 NBA Team Preview: Memphis Grizzlies

Season Review 2012/13:

Advanced Stats
Numbers
Rank
Pace
88.4
30
Offense
104.9
17
Defense
100.3
2
Rebound
52.8
1

4 Factors
Offense
Numbers
Rank
Defense
Numbers
Rank
eFG%
48.9
17
eFG%
52.0
28
TO%
14.0
19
TO%
13.1
25
Reb%
29.2
6
Reb%
25.6
8
FT%
19.3
23
FT%
20.8
19

Monthly Performance
Record
OffRtg
DefRtg
November
 12-2
108.8
100.8
December
 7-7
100.4
100.6
January
 10-7
104.0
103.2
February
 9-2
106.3
99.3
March
 11-6
110.3
106.3
April
 7-2
105.7
95.5


Memphis is coming from the best season of their franchise and if it wasn’t for a sweep that they suffered at the hands of San Antonio in the Western Conference and the season would have been “perfect” for the organization.

With the same structure from a few years ago and with the same coach, the Grizzlies were obvious contenders to reach the playoffs and a team that nobody wanted to face in the postseason due to their impressive physical play.

They started the season in super strong fashion with 14 wins on their first 17 games mostly due to an advanced team chemistry, in comparison to the rest of the league. However, after that hot start, the Grizzlies struggled by going 16-15 on the following 31 games.

The team gained a new owner and even ESPN stats guy John Hollinger was hired as the VP of Basketball Operations. One of the first options of the new staff was to trade Rudy Gay, who was seen as an inefficient offensive player, being replaced by Tayshaun Prince. The results of that trade were extremely positive:

Rudy Gay vs. Tayshaun Prince
Players
Record
OffRtg
DefRtg
Pace
w/ Gay
 29-16
104.4
101.6
88.2
w/ Prince
 27-10
108.0
101.6
86.7

Memphis ended the regular season in great fashion by going 27-10 from February 1 to the end of the regular season. This wasn’t surprising as the Grizzlies’ offense improved and that turned them into a much more competitive team. Prince shot just 43% FG on these 37 games in Memphis, but it was the improved offensive flow with a better shot selection from their key players that made the team improve so much.

Defensively, Memphis continued being the Western Conference’s best defensive league. That helped them to end the regular season with a franchise best of 56-26! Even though they won 56 games that wasn’t enough for them to get home court advantage in the first round of the postseason. In that series, they faced the Clippers just like in the previous season.

Memphis lost the first two games of the series at LA in an unusual way for them, as they were completely outmuscled by the Clippers in both games, while being outrebounded by a combined of 61-87! But once the series went to Memphis for Game 3, the Grizzlies pounded the Clippers down low with Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol and this formula was repeated in the following four games of the series. Randolph was the team’s barometer as in Memphis’s four wins in that series he shot 39-68 FG, for an impressive 57% FG!

The Grizzlies had then a series against Oklahoma City that became much easier for them due to Russell Westbrook’s season-ending injury. However, this wasn’t still an easy series for Memphis, as all their wins were by six points or less. On this series, it was clear why the Grizzlies were the best defensive team in the conference.

On the Conference Final against San Antonio, Memphis’s offensive struggles were well explored by San Antonio, as the Grizzlies scored 83, 85, 86 and 86 points in regulation time in those games. Memphis averaged 34.3 FT/game against the Clippers and 28.4 FT/game against Oklahoma City, but they averaged just 22 FT/game against the Spurs, with both Randolph and Gasol being well defended by San Antonio. On the other side, the Grizzlies’ backcourt just couldn’t handle Tony Parker. 


Offseason Report:

The biggest news of the offseason was Lionel Hollins leaving the team, even though he guided the Grizzlies to the best season of the franchise. Hollins’s old school style was contrasting with the new statistic approach of the organization and ultimately Hollins left the team.

David Joerger was then promoted into the team’s Head Coach. He was completing his sixth season as an assistant for the team and his second season as lead assistant. He is an excellent teacher of the game and his stay at the D-League was excellent. In fact, Joerger had 18 of his players called up to the NBA from 2003-07!

With a well consolidated main core of players, the organization didn’t change a lot its roster on the offseason. They grabbed a much needed perimeter shooter in Mike Miller and they traded for Kosta Koufos, in order to have a solid backup at Center position.


Season Preview:

The Grizzlies are entering the new season with similar goals as last season. They will be once again a team that nobody will want to face in the playoffs.

The main question for Memphis this season is to see if David Joerger can be successful as the team’s head coach. The good news is that Joerger has been in the organization for several years and he was part of Hollins’s coaching staff. Memphis will naturally be a top defensive team once again due to their roster, so the challenge in here will be to turn Memphis into a decent offensive team.

Marc Gasol is in my opinion the team’s most important player. He deservedly won the Defensive Player of the Year award last season, but it’s on offense that Gasol needs to step it up this season in order to improve the team’s chances to reach the finals. Gasol is the league’s best big passing man with 4.0 assists per game, so the Grizzlies’s offensive flow depends from his ability to find the open guy. His 10.9 shots per game last season isn’t enough for such a talented player and especially on a league that doesn’t have a lot of big sized centers, something that shows how unselfish Gasol is. One of the Joerger’s goals for the new season will be to set a goal for Gasol to score at least 15 points per game, something that he is yet to do in the NBA.

Just like it has been happening over the last few seasons, Zach Randolph will be Marc’s partner in the frontcourt and he is coming from a season where he struggled on the second half of the season, in contrast with the rest of the team. He shot just 43.3% FG in that span versus 47% FG before the All Star break. The good news is that Randolph played well in the playoffs until he faced the Spurs and struggled massively with 30% FG!!!

Memphis has possibly one of the best frontcourt duos in the league, but besides these two players, the Grizzlies will be also well served in the bench with Ed Davis and Kosta Koufos being serviceable backups. Memphis was #1 on rebounding last season and looking at their depth on the frontcourt for this season, it’s likely that they will be as good on rebounding as they were last season.

Mike Conley was definitely the player that benefited the most with Rudy Gay’s trade. He started the have the ball more on his hands and his self-trust improved exponentially. In comparison with the first half of the season, Conley shot much better with 46% FG versus 43% FG, while he also improved his assists numbers into 6.3 assists per game! Defensively, Conley is one of the best players in the league on steals, while he has been inconsistent on offense. On the playoffs, he was the key in Memphis’s first win over Oklahoma City with 11-22 FG and 26 points, but then he struggled in the three following games by shooting a combined of 15-48 (31%) FG!

Both Tony Allen and Tayshaun Prince will help Memphis into continue being an elite defensive team, but they can’t offer a lot on offense. Coach Hollins was “forced” to give extra minutes to Jerryd Bayless in the playoffs to give the team an offensive boost, but for the new season, the X factor of the team might be Mike Miller and his good shooting range. Let’s hope that Mike Miller’s back can handle his role on his return to Memphis, while Quincy Pondexter should continue being a serviceable player on the rotation as well.

It’s hard to imagine a Western Conference without the Grizzlies as one of their top teams. Their playing style is tough to match due to his aggression in both ends of the floor, however they didn’t add any important piece to the team during the offseason and their “new” Head Coach is a question mark as well. The peak of this core of players was reached last season when they reached the Conference Finals and repeat this feat this season will be very tough considering the improved competition on this conference.

My name is André Gomes, I’m from Portugal and I am a Professional Handicapper. My sole purpose is to constantly beat the sportsbooks by taking advantage of the evaluation errors they make. It is most... Read more

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