NBA Daily: First Quarter Grades: Southwest Division
The mark has been broached by the NBA, as November draws to a close. Twenty games may not seem like a whole lot, but there’s plenty which could be removed in the play of any group through this point in this season.
The 2018-19 season has been rather a sudden one so far, even more so for its teams that live in the Southwest division. Down and up, the Southwest hasn’t played out just how anyone expected it to.
How have these teams?
Memphis Grizzlies — B+
Grit and Grind has not made a comeback, like it was 2013, but this season was started by the Memphis Grizzlies.
While they’ve come back down by a surprising start, the 12-8 Grizzlies sit on peak of the branch and appear much improved by the 22-60 squad they ran outside onto the court last season. Mike Conley, who’s averaged 20.3 points, 3.4 rebounds, 6.6 assists and 1.2 steals in 20 games, has rebounded after he missed most of last season due to injury, and his return has his seasoned partner in crime, Marc Gasol.
Gasol has boosted his numbers after an underwhelming 2017; the Spaniard is among five players this year to average at least 18 points, nine rebounds, one steal and one block per game. Meanwhile, Kyle Anderson Garrett Temple and Shelvin Mack have demonstrated capable additions as well.
Rookie Jaren Jackson Jr. has also played at a high degree; the former Michigan State Spartan has averaged 12.7 points, 4.5 rebounds, one steal and 2.1 blocks per game while shooting 34.9 percent on 2.2 three-point attempts per game.
The Grizzlies weren’t expected by many to lead the branch at the quarter mark, or maybe any markers, this season. But, with the New Orleans Pelicans and Houston Rockets underperforming to a degree, this is where they’ve found themselves. They might not hold all season, but they can consider their year a success so far.
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