The Memphis Grizzlies are young and on the upswing. Last year they surprised all when they missed the 8th seed by just one win. With a complete 15 man roster and an intact, custom-built young core, the Memphis Grizzlies are Grit-N-Grind 2.0 and rearing to go.
The Big 3 of Ja Morant, Jaren Jackson Jr., and Brandon Clarke bring above-the-rim intensity and classic Memphis two-way play back to the culture of the young Grizzlies. These young cubs are hungry, motivated, and complement each other. Rugged, yet up-tempo, I project this team to improve from the 34 wins last year to 40-42 this season.
Expect increased roles for Dillon Brooks, De’Anthony Melton, and the new incoming draftees. With all the young Memphis core under contract, and no significant contributer allowed to walk, and, this team will have continuity going forward.
Temples are buildings where religious or spiritual activities are performed. These acts have ranged from sacrifice to the more socially acceptable prayer. Hinduism, Buddhism, Christianity, and many other religions have utilized temples to worship their gods. Beep. Boop. Bop. You know what’s a digitial god? The Stocktonator. And they are often open every day, yet people usually only go to worship once a week. Same goes for Garrett Temple. He’s played in every game this season. Early on, he was getting 16-18 minutes of run, then it was ramped up to 24-26 minutes. Since November 18th, Temple has averaged 34 minutes per game, primarily because of the Caris LeVert injury. With that said, he provides a fantasy relevent performance about once a week. Last night the weekly quota was met.
Not very often do you see a team that surprised the nation as the 5th seed in the West, then do a nearly complete re-haul of their roster. I liken this team to the Spurs who I wrote about earlier this week, a deep team without the newly coveted “duo”, that will play hard and compete. The Jazz have a new stud point guard in Mike Conley who is back to playing for a winning team and is a perfect fit for Jazz Basketball, a new knockdown shooter in Bojan Bogdanovic, and forward depth in Jeff Green and Ed Davis. This is going to be a gritty team that will be playing meaningful basketball deep in the season. Bold prediction: The Jazz will have three top 25 fantasy players and win their first round playoff match up in 2019.
Points guards are the Mother Teresas of the fantasy basketball world, as they like to give. Shooting guards are….the cavemen. See ball, shoot ball, take ball, then shoot ball. Rinse and repeat. These are obviously generalizations, but shooters shoot, and that’s what this post is all about. I kid, kind of. The elite at this position are across-the-board contributers, while the rest are indeed cavemen.
To see my per-game value projections for each player, click HERE. In the “Pos” box (which stands for position, not the other thing you were thinking), type in “sg” and the table will sort by just shooting guards.
The 2019-20 Grizzlies are going to be a lot of fun to watch. Ja Morant is going to be dunking on fools and buzzing screaming lefty passes by defenders’ ears. Jaren Jackson Jr. is going to keep bombing from deep and blocking everything in sight at the rim. Brandon Clarke is the perfect pick and roll lob partner for Morant, as he’ll have plenty of opportunities to sky above ten feet and throw down feathery Morant passes. Kyle Anderson is going to keep cheekily breaking down defenses with his awkward, dawdling euro-step game and random bursts of quickness. The Grizzlies are also going to be bad this season, but that’s okay. A great League Pass team doesn’t always rack up the W’s, take last year’s Sacramento Kings for example. The Kings were a fast-paced ball of fun even though they ultimately wound up missing out on the playoffs—expect the same from this year’s Grizz.
For the one woman reader out there, if you got excited because you thought this post would correlate to The Full Monty, I have three things to say to you. First, thank you for being the lone woman reader. Second, I apologize. Third, get your mind out of the gutter. Pervert. This post is about Monte Morris of the Denver Nuggets. He’s been a solid player all season for the Nuggets, but last night? Well, we got the Full Monte as he received his second start of the season because Jamal Murray is still recovering from an ankle injury.
Played a team-high and whopping 40 minutes! I wasn’t joking about the Full Monte bit. Now, Murray is the entrenched starter, so Morris won’t be surpassing him on the depth chart, but he’s still a valuable backup and will get run on a nightly basis. Coming into last night’s game, Morris had been averaging a tick under 25 minutes, 10.2 points, 1.2 threeecolas, 2.5 boards, 3.7 dimes, and 0.9 steals. He was shooting 48% from the field and 79% from the line. The key number for Morris is the assist-to-turnover ratio (5.45), which is second in the NBA. 180 assists to 33 turnovers in 49 games. That’s an endearing quality to have when it comes to NBA coaches. Almost as captivating as asian parents seeing their daughter date a man with a PhD in medicine. Bottom line, Morris is going to get run, which gives him a high floor. As evidenced last night, though, when he starts, you get the Full Monte.
There are some things in life that we can’t refrain from doing. When you text a crush and you see the reply bubble, you writhe with anticipation. When you drive by an accident and talk shit about all the people rubber necking, of course you gawk because traffic has slowed down anyways. When you buy a lottery ticket, you mental masturbate about what you would do if you won. When James Harden plays basketball, no matter how many times I’ve written him as the lede, I have to do it again because he keeps doing ridiculousness.
In 34 minutes! With a supporting cast of P. J. Tucker, Daniel House Jr., Nene Hilario, and Austin Rivers!! Harden had a usage rate of 57.5 last night!!! His true shooting percentage was 69.6!!!! Exclamation points are no longer sufficient to capture the essence of what he’s doing. You ever seen the movie Boomerang?
That’s where we’re at with Harden. He’s making it difficult for NBA defenses. He’s making it difficult for me not to write him as the lede every night. He’s making it difficult for us to even comprehend what he’s doing. Harden difficult indeed.
You are all pretty familiar with the reliable rookies this year and are playing them every night – Luka, Trae, JJJ, and crew. This week I’d like to showcase some of the other rookies who have considerably less hype and perhaps not any useful results yet either. Even mining the forgotten talents of the draft turns up some good players, which again speaks to the strength of this year’s class.
The Utah Jazz provided the biggest surprise last season, taking advantage of a second half schedule that ranked as the easiest in the league to go on a remarkable run and finish as the 5th seed in the West. More importantly, they knocked out Russell Westbrook, Paul George, and Carmelo Anthony from the first round of the playoffs with their usual gritty, defense-first style. The emergence of Donovan Mitchell as a potential NBA star, vast improvements in the pick-and-roll chemistry between Ricky Rubio and Rudy Gobert, and a roster that has been carefully molded to fit the system lends for plenty of optimism for the Jazz to build on last season’s success. It won’t be easier, however, as a number of teams in the West improved in the offseason. With that said, there should be plenty in the tank for the Jazz to walk away from the regular season looking forward to playoff basketball once again.
Each NBA franchise participated in a handful of exhibition games designed to determine who will receive meaningful minutes when the games count, see which rookies have the moxie to handle the men they are trying to steal jobs from, figure out which two-way players will be relegated to the G-league, and ascertain whether preseason really deserves a hyphen or not. Coaches agonize over different rotations, who can play with who, what offensive sets might work, who is smart enough to make defensive decisions in the wink of an eye, and whose agent was lying when he said their player had been putting up 3,000 three pointers a day in an effort to improve their range. All this is done while those same coaches secretly plead in their inside brain, “Please God, don’t let anybody get hurt, sleep with another player’s girlfriend, or be swayed by their buddy from the 4th grade to think that they truly deserve 15 shots per game.” All of those could significantly change rotation plans, kill that elusive team chemistry, or generally cause chaos.
So after the past week of games, we are here to answer or try to answer the following questions: