Memphis Grizzlies News: December stats, takeaways, and outlook

Memphis Grizzlies, Steven Adams, Mandatory Credit: Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports
Memphis Grizzlies, Steven Adams, Mandatory Credit: Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports /

December may have been one of the Grizzlies’ most exciting, yet most telling, months the team has had thus far. Many things happened, some of which we should be excited about but some not so much. Back in August, I gave my prediction for Memphis’ games month-to-month. Now it is time to look back over December at some of the notable games, where the Grizzlies stand as of now, and how my predictions have turned out thus far.


Predicted December Record: 9-5
Actual December Record: 10-4
Difference: +1
Predicted Overall Record: 21-14
Actual Overall Record: 22-13
Difference: +1

Standings History:
Start of December: 4th (3.0 GB)
Highest Standing: 1st (8 days)
End of December: 2nd (1.0 GB)

OVERALL GRADE. A-. . 10-4 Record. 4th to 2nd in Standings

Takeaways from Grizzlies’ December performance:

Record: Memphis did slightly better this month than I first predicted. This is surprising considering that the Grizzlies were down Desmond Bane from November 11th until his return game on December 23rd. Memphis was also the second-best team in December (behind the Brooklyn Nets, who went 12-1 in December). With the second-highest record, finding themselves first in the Western Conference, and looking good while doing so, this team seems to be firing at full cylinders even though they were not at 100% health-wise, in most areas but one.

Beyond the Arc:

Beyond the Arc: Memphis ranked 29th in the month of December for three-point percentage, shooting an abysmal 31.2%. If Memphis wants to make a huge run (or even contend), it will need to either fill in this hole in its game or work around it. While the modern NBA offensive scheme is built around the three-point shot, it is possible to win without shooting as many threes.

For example, Brooklyn was near perfect in December. They ranked the highest in three-point percentage but have the least amount of attempts in December. The case for Memphis is not necessarily to never shoot another three, but instead to take good shots, and knock down the opportunities that are given.


It’s no question that without Jaren Jackson Jr., the Grizzlies struggled defensively, but they have seemed to find their mojo again. Memphis was first in blocks in the month of December with 101 total blocks, and sixth in total steals with 143. Memphis had the highest defensive rating at 104, allowing the second-least amount of points on the fastbreak and the fewest in the paint. They also held opponents to a league-best 41.3% from the field.

It’s almost as if the Grit-n-Grind era never left Memphis. There is one noticeable difference, however. This time, the Grizzlies were the fourth-fastest team in terms of possession (or PACE). Memphis is putting on a defensive display, and taking those stops, or turnovers quickly to the other end on the fastbreak and with a quicker style of play, almost as if they desire to get back to the defensive end of the ball.

Outlook for Grizzlies

The Grizzlies lost some tough matchups, including the loss to Golden State on Memphis’ first Christmas day game. Memphis also had some huge wins including a 41-point win against the Bucks, and a 25-point win against the Suns. It is important to note that Memphis is a young team. In fact, they’re the fifth-youngest in the NBA. They are only getting better and better.

The other four youngest teams are in huge rebuilding efforts. Memphis can contend this year if they will become more disciplined with their shooting opportunities. I have faith in the coaching staff, however. They will get these guys on track as far as shooting is concerned by playoff time. There is nothing to fear, however, as this overall was an amazing month for Memphis.

The West is very close, but we could see Memphis come back at #1 as they did earlier this month. It is great to see good basketball being played at the FedEx Forum.

Continued Predictions

Here are my same predictions for the rest of the season, with an updated overall record (for continuity).

January Prediction: 10-5 (32-18 Overall)
February Prediction: 9-1 (41-19 Overall)
March Prediction: 11-6 (52-25 Overall)
April Prediction: 3-2 (55-27 Overall)