Last season the Memphis Grizzlies were just below .500 (40-42), just out of the playoffs in the West. So they brought the band back together, expected a step forward and…
Not so much. They are 8-14 and sitting 12th in the Western Conference. And that has owner Michael Heisley confused, as he told the Commercial Appeal.
“I don’t know what’s happening,” Heisley said of the Grizzlies’ 8-14 record. “We’re having a difficult time and I don’t know what the reason for it is. I started the season with high hopes for the team. It’s not living up to what I’d hope. I don’t know what else to say. I’ve racked my brain trying to figure it out.”
“We just have to get ourselves righted and go on a (winning) streak like we did last year in December,” Heisley said. “I still like our team. I don’t like the results. But we play hard. By the All-Star break we’ll have a better idea of where we are. We’ve just got to get to .500 by the All-Star break.”
If not, he said they would have to consider making a move.
As a service, let me help Heisley out a little bit — it’s the offense. Yes, the injuries have been a part of it, yes the schedule has been though (fourth toughest in the league), but the offense has been your problem.
Last season the Grizzles were the best offensive rebounding team in the league, this season they are okay at 10th in the league. Last season got to the line much more, they were 12th in the league in free throw to field goal ratio. This season? Try 29th. OJ Mayo isn’t shooting all that well and doesn’t like coming off the bench. The list goes on and on (but does not include Mike Conley anymore, good call there, we were wrong about him).
Maybe the Grizzlies can get healthy and get on a bit of a run. Or, maybe, this team pretty much reached its potential as it was last season and to expect more improvement across the board without significant additions was a mistake. Probably more the latter.
Last season, DeMarcus Cousins received zero MVP votes (the same as every year of his career). Even though he averaged 24.1 points, and 12.7 rebounds a game, which was enough to get him his first All-Star berth, MVP is another thing entirely. Only players on winning teams tend to draw the attention of MVP voters.
This season, can Cousins — arguably the best center in the game — get in the conversation?
He thinks it’s more than just that, he told Kevin Ding at Bleacher Report.
The topic is the 2015-16 NBA MVP award and whether it could be reachable for DeMarcus Cousins.
“Reachable, man?” Cousins told Bleacher Report, his voice rising high. “It’s mine to grab.”
As noted above, the only way Cousins gets into the conversation — fair or not — is if the Kings are in the playoffs (at the very least). He understands that.
“It’s going to take a full team effort,” Cousins said. “I’ll try to play at a high level and bring my team along with me.”
Vlade Divac built a Kings’ team designed to start winning now — as you would expect from a team a year away from moving into a new arena they need to fill. Owner Vivek Ranadive is not about selling hope anymore, he wants to sell wins.
I think Cousins can help provide that.
I’m less sold on the cast around him being able to help.
After a bumpy season where the he fought with Suns coaches, then a summer where he and his twin Marcus felt they were blindsided by a trade, Markieff Morris has been plenty vocal about his unhappiness in Phoenix. To the point it has cost him some serious cash.
So what should we expect from Markieff Morris’ upcoming season?
Relative calm, I tell Jenna Corrado of NBCSports in this latest edition of PBT Extra previewing the NBA season.
The reasons are twofold. First, he has to realize the Suns aren’t trading him anyway (especially not while he publicly demands a trade, lowering his trade value). Second, can you imagine how new locker room leader Tyson Chandler is going to react to that? Chandler was brought in to fill a leadership void in the locker room, and you can bet he will make his displeasure at such team-disrupting antics known.
Still not sure if that’s enough to get the Suns to the playoffs.