It's a new year, a new decade, and a new era in Memphis Grizzlies basketball.
In honor of the new year, here are some tips to help this fledgling team learn, grow, and be their best selves in 2020.
How Do You Solve a Problem Like Turnovers?
It is a key question that the players and coaching staff alike need to be asking themselves. To make matters more complicated, this is an issue with many facets that will require more than one solution.
Memphis ranks fifth in the league in turnovers per game (15.9) and opposing teams typically do much better at converting those turnovers into points on the other end of the floor. The Grizzlies need to reduce the number of turnovers they commit, they need to work harder to reduce the number of points their opponents score off those turnovers, and do a better job of capitalizing on their opponent's turnovers.
Defend Without Fouling
This is directed at the whole team, however, two specific players come to mind here:
Jaren Jackson Jr. leads the league in fouls committed per game, and his getting into trouble early with careless fouls has come back to bite the team in more than one game. When one of your team’s best players is unable to play in crunch time because he committed a bunch of early fouls, that is a problem.
Dillon Brooks is not far behind Jackson, ranking fifth in fouls committed per game. His propensity to commit fouls when he is frustrated is something else that needs to be addressed.
And for the love of all that is good and holy in this world please STOP FOULING THREE-POINT SHOOTERS.
YGTMYFT (You've got to make your free throws)
Here is some food for thought about the free-throw situation.
As of January 1st, the Grizzlies have:
The second-fewest average free throw attempts per game (19.9)
The fourth-lowest average in personal fouls drawn per game (19.5)
A middle-of-the-pack free throw percentage per game average (77.5)
Memphis averages third in points in the paint per game (50.2), just below the Los Angeles Lakers (51.6) and the Milwaukee Bucks (54.6), yet those two teams consistently average more free throw attempts than the Grizzlies. While the number of free throw attempts isn’t something that can be directly influenced, how many of those shots the Grizzlies make is within their control.
I saved this one for last so that I could end this on a positive note. Currently, the Grizzlies are ranked second in the league in assists per game (27.2), a sign of unselfish basketball. Great job! Keep that up.