NBA Daily: First Quarter Grades: Southwest Division
The NBA has broached the mark, as November draws to a close. Twenty games may not look like a lot, but there is a lot which could be taken away from the play of any group through this point in the season.
The season has been a surprising one so far, even more so. Up and down, the Southwest hasn’t performed how anyone expected it to.
So, how have these teams?
Memphis Grizzlies — B+
Grit and Grind hasn’t made a comeback, but the Memphis Grizzlies began this year like it was 2013.
While they’ve come back down by a surprising start, that the 12-8 Grizzlies sit at the top of the branch and look much improved from the 22-60 squad they ran outside on the court last season. Mike Conley, who has 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 because of injury, and his return has galvanized his veteran partner in crime, Marc Gasol.
Gasol has fostered his numbers following an abysmal 2017; the Spaniard is among five players this season to average at least 18 points, nine rebounds, one steal and one block per game. Meanwhile, the Kyle Anderson Garrett Temple and Shelvin Mack have demonstrated capable additions as well.
Rookie Jaren Jackson Jr. has also played in 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 weren’t anticipated by many to lead the division at the quarter mark, or maybe any markers, this year. Where they’ve found themselves, but, with Houston Rockets underperforming and the New Orleans Pelicans to a level, this is. They can consider a success so far, although they may not hold onto that branch all season.