Memphis Grizzlies News: The Sharpe curse, a Memphis fraud

Memphis Grizzlies guard Ja Morant (12) and Memphis Grizzlies forward Jaren Jackson Jr. (13)-Mandatory Credit: Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports
Memphis Grizzlies guard Ja Morant (12) and Memphis Grizzlies forward Jaren Jackson Jr. (13)-Mandatory Credit: Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports /

What a way to kick off 2023 than a very wild and strange January from the Memphis Grizzlies. As with everything, there was the good, the bad, and the ugly with Memphis’ month. Back in August, I gave my prediction month-by-month for Memphis’ season. Now that is the beginning of February it is time once again to give a recap on the month Memphis just had. Let’s take a look at how my predictions have panned out, important stats from January, takeaways from the month that we, as fans, should take, and what we should look for going forward.

Grizzlies January recap:

Predicted January Record: 10-5
Actual December Record: 10-5
Difference:  0
Predicted Overall Record: 34-16(from August); 32-18 (from December)
Actual Overall Record: 32-18
Difference: -2 (from August); 0 (from December)

Standings History:
Start of January: T2 (1.0 GB)
Highest Standing: T1 (9 days)
End of December: 2nd (1.0 GB)

Takeaways from the Grizzlies January Performance:

Record and Stats: Memphis started January by going on an 11-game win streak (Starting December 29th). Then proceeded to have one of the toughest stretches for this team by losing 5 games straight. We will get into different factors in that losing streak and the significance of it later. However, at the beginning of this month, Memphis shined as easily as one of the best teams in the league.

Memphis again proved itself as one of the best teams defensively with a defended field goal percentage sitting at 45.8% and also ranking 2nd in Defensive rating at 109.7 9 (Cleveland sits 1st at 109.6). They are 3rd in Blocks per game and 5th in steals per game. Memphis is also 2nd in Rebounds per game with 48.5 (Bucks lead the league with 48.8 RPG)

However, Memphis also ranked 20th in FG% in the NBA with an abysmal 46.9%. We did raise our 3-point % from 31.2% in December to 34.4% in January (ranking 23rd). Memphis is at least working the ball around and getting good opportunities here and there as they lead the league in screen assists per game with 11.6.

The Shannon Sharpe incident

Memphis was no stranger to outside influences that affected their play on the floor. Notably and coincidentally, Memphis’ aforementioned losing streak began after a particular moment during the game against Los Angeles.

It is purely coincidental. But, indeed, after Dillion Brooks, Ja Morant, Tee Morant (Ja’s Father), and most importantly Steven Adams got into a heated discussion which resulted in Shannon Sharpe being escorted off the court (when this picture in the tweet was taken) Memphis’ bad luck began.

Memphis had a heartbreaking loss by 1 to the Lakers that night. Then another close loss to Phoenix the next night. This Suns game was just the 2nd on their long 5-game road trip (Of which was all 5 games of the losing streak). Steven Adams became injured after the Phoenix game. Adams is a big contributor for Memphis on the defensive end and on the boards. They were able to put together a win at home after a long road trip for the Grizzlies to end the Month.

Fraud in Memphis?

Jaren Jackson was also in the eye of the Media later into the week as a Reddit post became popular accusing Memphis scorekeepers of bolstering the stats of the Defensive Player of the Year front-runner. The post went into detail claiming that at home, JJJ would be accredited with more blocks and steals than he acquired to bolster his stats and case for DPOY.

This post took Twitter by storm as many started calling for the NBA to investigate this matter. How did Jaren Jackson Jr. respond? By getting 5 blocks against Indiana at home.

One writer was given some information that helped clear any doubt people were hoping to instill within Jaren’s ability.

Outlook for the Grizzlies:

Besides the disappointing road trip Memphis had, Memphis played decently well. There are many things to look forward to looking forward. Danny Green is back, which should help our 3-point shooting. I have February being one of the biggest months for Memphis.

This will be huge for them in terms of getting healthy but also finding ways to constantly get better going into the All-Star break and the last stretches of the season as they prepare to make a deep playoff run. Buckle up. This is going to be a (continued) good year for Memphis.

Continued Predictions:

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

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