Fading NBA Team #3: Memphis Grizzlies
The Memphis Grizzlies have unsurprisingly struggled without their star, Ja Morant, who is serving a 25-game suspension. Even still, going 2-8 to start the season is the worst-case scenario, with the Grizzlies quickly losing ground in the Western Conference.
Their biggest problem, aside from no Morant and a lack of a starting-caliber center with Steven Adams and Brandon Clarke out, is their offense. They rank second-to-last in offensive rating, thanks largely to their reliance on 3-point shooting.
They launch nearly 41 three-pointers per game but hit just 33.2% of them, making them the seventh-worst shooting team in the NBA. On the plus side, Desmond Bane has taken advantage of the absence of Morant and has looked like a star. Last season was a career year for Bane, averaging a terrific 21.5 points while shooting a blistering 40.8% on seven threes.
This season, he is taking nearly 10 threes per game, still shooting well above league average and averaging a career-best 26.5 points per game. When Morant comes back, his scoring output will almost certainly drop. That being said, he’s managed to boost his scoring by five points per game with good efficiency while drawing increased attention from opposing defenses.
The Grizzlies may not be in a position to make the playoffs as of now. Be that as it may, with Bane playing well and Morant’s return imminent, they will hopefully be able to make up ground in the standings.