Grizzlies

Bane Finds His Stride for Grizzlies in Week Two

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The Grizzlies started the second week of the NBA season with an absolute barnburner of a shootout against the Brooklyn Nets. The backcourt duo of Ja Morant and Desmond Bane combined for a massive 76 points.

Hard to start your week off much better than that.

Memphis would then go on to start a four game road trip with a win against the Sacramento Kings before dropping the first of two matchups against the Utah Jazz.

The Good

Desmond Bane

He must have heard the naysayers.

After a quiet start to the season, Desmond Bane absolutely exploded during week two, and he started with a supernova 38 point performance against the Brooklyn Nets to kick the week off.

For the week, Bane averaged 34 PTs (on 21 of 27 shooting from 3PT) with four REB, four AST, one BLK, and one STL per game.

That’s the sort of production expected from the young guard after the leap that he made last season, and if he continues this trajectory Bane could find himself having quite the season ahead of him.

The Rookies

‘Draft Well’ feels like it may be one of the edicts of Grizzlies Culture at this point.

Yet again, Kleiman and Co struck gold with their draft selections, as not one, not two, but three Memphis rookies saw playing time this week. 

Jake “The Snake” LaRavia had his best game of the season so far in Sacramento. Against the Kings, he had 13 PTS (3/4 from 3PT), nine REB, one AST, one STL and finished +24.

Oh and his teammates already love the guy.

Similarly, David “Big Body” Roddy made his presence known in the loss against the Jazz Saturday night, as he accounted for ten PTS, seven REB, two AST, two STL, and two BLK.

Even Kennedy Chandler got in on the action as the guard saw some limited minutes with Morant out against Utah.

Time will tell if the youngsters are able to continue this level of production, but for the time being it looks as if the Grizzlies front office will have several feathers they can add to their proverbial cap.

Dillon Brooks

The villain made his return to action this week and it couldn’t have arrived sooner.

His first task: guard Kevin Durant.

Brooks held his own.

It wasn’t just the defense however; Dillon treated us to just what kind of disruptive, offensive menace he’s capable of being. In the loss to Utah, Dillon had 30 PTS (4/7 from 3PT), two REB, four AST, and three STL.

The villain was an absolute wrecking ball against the Jazz, and he was the main reason the Grizzlies almost won the game Saturday.

Does he still need to take less shots?

Abso-tively-posi-lutely he does.

If he can have THESE types of games more often, though, Dillon will prove he deserves to stay on Beale St.

The Bad

The Injury Report

That didn’t take long.

Very seldom does the injury bug not catch up with a team throughout the course of season, and the Grizzlies started the season with 3 key pieces sidelined (Brooks, JJJ, and Ziaire Williams) as is.

Memphis made it all of 4 games before having to add a fresh face to the injury report against the Kings.

Jitty would miss just one game, but the Grizzlies wouldn’t have to wait that long before adding two more names to the injured list, as well.

Now, if you had to pick what you wanted to see next to a player’s name on the injury report, “Non-COVID Illness” is probably right at the top of the list.

Still, when you see your superstar player and your first round draft pick’s names on the injury report, it has to give you some pause for concern.

Z’s Knees

It’s a bad beat when you’re not even playing and you still somehow show up on the “Bad” side of the things.

But there’s no other way to describe the news that Z is expected to miss another 4-6 weeks of the season.

Many thought that Ziaire was the prime “Make the Leap” candidate for the Grizzlies this year. After a promising freshman campaign with the team it just seemed like the natural next step.

With Memphis as an organization being such a huge champion of player development, these are extremely valuable minutes that Z is missing.

With guys like Aldama, LaRavia, and Roddy continuing their development the importance of Ziaire being on the court increases tenfold.

When Memphis gets all of its guys back, someone will be losing minutes. Williams not getting those minutes now does not bode well for the sophomore player 6 weeks from now.

The Defense

Two weeks into the season and the buzzsaw that is the Grizzlies offense continues to hum along.

Currently Memphis sits at 5th in the league in offensive efficiency, with only Boston, New Orleans, Dallas, and Phoenix ahead of them.

The same cannot be said about their defensive output, however.

Now, they are missing their 2021-2022 All Defensive player in Jaren Jackson Jr., and there’s already an increase in their defensive efficiency with the return of Dillon Brooks, so getting Trip back will help.

This is help the Grizzlies desperately need—they are currently ranked 27th in the league in defensive efficiency. 

Recipe for a championship, that is not.

Memphis will have to tighten up on defense if they truly want their championship aspirations to be taken seriously.

Overall

With the ups and downs that come in an early NBA Season, this week wasn’t too bad for Memphis.

Sure you would’ve like to have seen the Grizzlies go undefeated to close out the week, but Utah has been surprising everyone this year and vastly exceeding expectations. Plus, Memphis was without Morant and their top rookie.

All in all, Week Two gets chalked up as a win for the Grizz.

CRAVING MORE GRIZZLIES?

Check out last week’s Recap by Nathan Qualls (@MemGrizzHomer), Grizzlies Grind Out Successful Week One. And be sure to check out the Grizz 901 Podcast, where the Grizz Lead guys get on to discuss these Deep Dive players and much, much more!

About Luke Hatmaker

Luke is based out of Nashville, TN where he lives with his cat, Dr. Alan Grant. In addition to contributing to Grizz Lead, he is one of the hosts of the No Bluffin' Podcast for the Grizz 901 Podcast Network and is also a cast member the RPG Radio Show Podcast.

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