As November draws to a close, the NBA has broached the quarter-season mark. Twenty games may not seem like a lot, but there’s a lot that can be removed in the play of any group through this point in the season.
The 2018-19 season has been quite a sudden one so far, even more so to get its teams that live in the Southwest branch. Down and up, the Southwest has not played out how anyone expected it to.
So, how have these teams done to this point in the season?
Memphis Grizzlies — B+
Grit and Grind has not made a comeback, but this season was started by the Memphis Grizzlies like it had been 2013.
While they’ve come back down from a surprising start, that the 12-8 Grizzlies sit at the peak of the branch and appear much improved by the 22-60 squad they ran outside on the court last season. Mike Conley, who’s averaged 20.3 points, 3.4 rebounds, 6.6 assists and 1.2 steals in 20 matches, has rebounded after he missed most of last season due to injury, and his return has galvanized his seasoned partner in crime, Marc Gasol.
Gasol has boosted his numbers following an abysmal 2017; the Spaniard is one of five players this year to average at least 18 points, nine rebounds, one steal and one block per game. Meanwhile, Garrett Temple, Kyle Anderson and Shelvin Mack have proved additions too.
Rookie Jaren Jackson Jr. has also played at a high level; the former Michigan State Spartan has averaged 12.7 points, 4.5 rebounds, a steal and 2.1 blocks per game while shooting 34.9 percent on 2.2 three-point attempts per game.
The Grizzlies were not expected by many to lead the division at the quarter mark, or perhaps some markers, this season. However, with Houston Rockets underperforming and all the New Orleans Pelicans to a level, this is where they have found themselves. They are able to think about their year a success thus far, although they may not hold all season.