Following Friday night’s 106-98 victory over L.A., Mike Conley called the Lakers “one of the best teams in the world.” So does that make the Memphis Grizzlies one of the best teams in in the universe?
They are, after all, leading the Western Conference with a record of 9-2. They’ve validated it by beating Eastern Conference contenders Miami and New York handily this season. The only losses for Memphis out of 11 games are running out gas to Denver (9-0 Nugget run to end the game) and an opening night ambush at the Clippers. Their 9 wins though have been ‘straight outta’ the coach’s playbook.
In an era of perimeter emphasis, head coach Lionel Hollins has a group that controls games from the inside-out. It’s the way basketball should be played.
Yet, all we can hear on TV and the internet right now is how the Lakers lost another road game on Friday…..how Dwight Howard didn’t get enough shots and how Pau Gasol didn’t get enough minutes.
What we should be talking about is how the Memphis Grizzlies are the better team and have the better players.
When you look at the per-game stats in Memphis, it’s like playing “Pick an All-Star.” Rudy Gay: 20.1 pts, 5.7 rebs…Zach Randolph: 16.7 pts, 13.6 rebs…now that’s what I call inside-out. Marc Gasol’s numbers aren’t shabby either, evening out to about 15 pts, 5 rebs, & 5 assts per night. Don’t forget PG Mike Conley, who’s chipping in roughly 15 pts, 7 assts, & 2 stls a game as well. The team, overall, is making 4% more of their three-pointers this season. That’s a huge jump for any NBA team.
I know it’s early and there are still some holes left to fill in Memphis (namely, a consistent long-range threat at SG) but it’s looking like one of those years for the Grizzlies.
Finally healthy and showing what they can be. This is a tight group of guys all pushing in the same direction.
The Lakers and their media should be taking notes.