The Hive needs a Bearskin Carpet
Matchup: Grizzlies(5-14) @ Hornets(10-6)
Off Efficiency: Grizzlies 99.3(26th), Hornets 107.4(4th)
Def Efficiency: Grizzlies 104.8(20th), Hornets 103.7(16th)
Before the season started, I called out the Grizzlies as a team that would push to be one of the worst of all time. I was thinking they’d be lucky to hit 15 wins. Well, so far they’re proving me wrong by managing 5 wins, including only a four-game and a seven-game losing streaks. I am ashamed.
Anyways, the Grizzlies played last night, delivering a Karma-inspired beating on the visiting Baron Davis and the Clippers, and ending the aforementioned seven-game losing streak. As can be expected for a young team, they are much better at home(4-5) than on the road(1-9), so the Hornets should be able to handle them. Of course, last year Rudy Gay made two of the games interesting, pushing the Hornets to overtime, so the Hornets should not take them lightly.
The Grizzlies shuffled their starting lineup against the Clippers in an attempt to get out of their funk, starting Kyle Lowry over Mike Conley and Darko Milicic over Marc Gasol. Since they won, I am assuming the same starting five will be rolled out against us.
The Hornets are in the midst of one of the weirdest stretch of scheduling I’ve ever seen, with only five games in fifteen days. They are also the proud owner of the second least number of losses of any team in the Western Conference after Portland lost to the Celtics last night. That’s the sound of opportunity knocking – let’s hope they take advantage rather than playing down to the competition.
Grizzlies: Perimeter defender Quinton Ross is listed as day to day, but played last night for 23 minutes.
PG: Kyle Lowry v Chris Paul
I like Kyle Lowry. I really do. He works hard, tries to stick his man, and backs down to no one. However, he’s an excellent reserve, not a starting point guard. Mo Pete, Melvin Ely, Hilton Armstrong + next years 1st rounder for Lowry and Darko, anyone? It lets Memphis cut some salary next year, and a big chunk the following year, gives them a real back-up shooting guard, and gives them a 1st rounder? Who knows? Anyways, Chris Paul will run amok.
SG: OJ Mayo v Rasual Peterson
I don’t have a clue if Rasual or Morris will be starting this game. If you look at their stats they are nearly identical, so I don’t think it matters much either way. I’m a little more inclined to play Butler because he’s better at the wing three-pointer, but I also feel that Rasual is playing way over his head right now and will come down hard at some point. OJ Mayo has played very well for the Grizzlies. He’s surprised me because his college numbers indicated he could score, but was very, very inefficient at it. So far this season, he’s been a solid NBA shooting guard, which promises great things as he develops over the next two years. I had always compared his skillset and build to JR Smith, but he’s no where near the bonehead JR is.
SF: Rudy Gay v Peja Stojakovic
I know this will be heretical, but I came very close to calling this even. I know Rudy Gay is an athletic marvel, and a 20 ppg scorer, but the numbers don’t lie. This season he’s been very inefficient and his three point shot has slipped badly, dropping his true shooting % to 51.1. He has almost twice as many turnovers as assists, and to be Honest, despite his athleticism I’ve never once watched him play and thought, “Hey, he’s a solid defender.” Peja hasn’t been burning the nets either so far this season, but the last five games he’s been working his butt off, and his shot is starting to come. He passes more, turns the ball over half as often, scores more efficiently and surprisingly is only slightly behind Gay in rebounding. I give Gay the edge purely because of his transition game – and almost choke there again when I remember Peja’s deadly transition three.
PF: Darrell Arthur v The Fluffinator
We picked Darrell Arthur and traded him for cash. He’s having a nice rookie campaign, but I don’t see him contributing more than Posey or Julian Wright already do. David West really likes playing the Grizzlies, averaging 30 points per game against them last year. Fluffy is going to put the hurt on them.
C: Darko Milicic v Tyson Chandler
Darko is starting in place of Marc Gasol, who has been pretty solid in the middle. I think Iavaroni is looking for more rebounding, and that is something that Darko can contribute, having always been a decent rebounder. Tyson is a better than decent rebounder, and with his baby born seems to be much more focused.
Mike Conley, Marc Gasol, Quinton Ross and Hakim Warrick doesn’t present a huge come down in talent from the starting five the Grizzlies roll out. Conley still has the potential to become a starting point guard in the league, and Marc Gasol is a solid enough center. Ross as a defender and Hak as a scoring forward help out on the wings nicely. Altogether it’s a solid bench. The Hornets are solid on the wings, and terribly weak at the lead guard and center positions. Despite the unbalanced nature of the bench, Posey, Wright, Peterson, and Brown should be able to score enough not for us to be embarassed.
Enjoy the game.