The Memphis Grizzlies may have come into the 2023-24 season tabbed as a legitimate threat to contend for the Larry O’Brien Trophy but, through three games in, the club seems to be a far cry from this specific label.
Winless and without any real answers to their ever-so-present problems, Taylor Jenkins’ squad now seems to be looked upon in a vastly different light compared to these aforementioned preseason expectations.
Their fall is so drastic that the folks at Bleacher Report have already gone as far as to predict that the Grizzlies will finish the year off as a bottom-10 offensive unit.
Memphis Grizzlies predicted to be a bottom-10 offensive team in 2023-24
"“Scoring struggles were in the cards from the moment Ja Morant earned his season-opening 25-game suspension. While the Grizzlies have historically weathered Morant’s absences well, going 31-15 since 2021-22, they’ve had a hard time scoring without their dynamic lead guard, losing 1.9 points per 100 possessions from their offensive rating when Morant sat last year, 2.3 in 2021-22 and a whopping 9.7 in 2020-21. And now center Steven Adams is out for the season with a knee injury,” writer Grant Hughes wrote.“Adams may not seem like a key offensive figure, but his screening and offensive rebounding have always been key to keeping an otherwise meh Grizzlies attack afloat. His on-off impact on Memphis’ scoring rate vastly exceeds Morant’s. Adams’ presence on the floor added 5.5 points per 100 possessions to the Grizzles offense last year and 6.4 the year before.”"
While it’s still far too early to confidently say what things will look like come early April, as of this moment it appears the Grizzlies are off to quite an unfortunate start when it comes to this aforementioned prediction.
Through one week of play, Memphis finds itself ranked 23 in points per game, 25 in field goal percentage, and 26 in offensive rating. This, of course, is mightily different from their ninth, 16, and 11 ranks in these respective categories just last season.
Despite these struggles, however, there have certainly been a few positive sightings from the team’s offensive productivity, particularly from Desmond Bane who, now taking on top-option duties in place of the suspended Ja Morant, is pacing his cohorts in points with 24.0 scored a night.
Unfortunately, his 33.3 percent shooting clip from deep also stands as the best mark on the Grizzlies out of those who have hoisted up a minimum of 12 attempts so far this season, thus showing that, even with his impressive scoring numbers, things on the surface can be quite deceiving.
While their defense has unsurprisingly been quite sensational during these infancy stages of the new campaign, as they rank 12 in defensive rating, third in blocks, and fifth in steals, their offensive lapses to this point in time have been the primary catalyst in their 0-3 start.
As the season progresses, the Grizzlies must find a way to better their production on the more glamorous side of the ball, otherwise, B/R’s self-proclaimed “unhinged” prediction has a real chance of becoming a reality.