Initial Report Card Grades for Every Key Memphis Grizzlies Player

Tom Firme@TFirmeAnalyst IINovember 27, 2013

Initial Report Card Grades for Every Key Memphis Grizzlies Player

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    Zach Randolph is roaring ahead in the initial slate to carry the Memphis Grizzlies to a decent record. He and a couple other players are using strong efforts to push the Grizzlies.

    Early impressions bring early player grades. Some of these are less generous than others.

    While Randolph isn't playing spectacularly in every area, he deserves high praise for putting together a string of hot shooting performances and double-doubles early.

    Grizzlies players who came out of the gates missing two-thirds of his shots, such as Jon Leuer and Jerryd Bayless, put them in danger of failing marks.

    A few players are difficult to grade due to their slender minute loads. Since sample size helps determine the impact a player can make, those players have a bit more focus on the games in which they play double-digit minutes.

    Follow along for an explanation of each grade.


Marc Gasol

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    Marc Gasol was aggressive before going down with an MCL sprain. 

    He shot more than before, taking 12.9 field-goal attempts per game, two more than last season. But results didn't come with the added shots. His 45.8 percent clip is worse than ever. 

    A pleasant surprise—he's committed only 2.7 fouls per game.

    His 10.2 percent turnover rate is a point of pride.

    Once again, Gasol started well at the free-throw line, hitting 88.7 percent.

    While Zach Randolph has been fighting hard at the glass, Gasol's rebounding figure is still low. The Spaniard is averaging 7.1 rebounds per game. His offensive rebounding rate is a career-low 5.4 percent.

    His defense wasn't bad before the injury, as he allowed 104 points per 100 possessions.

    Grade: C

Zach Randolph

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    Zach Randolph is playing like his has something to prove. Randolph's production is driving home the point that he wants to retire a Grizzly, as he expressed in an interview.

    His 16.2 points per game has helped buoy the Grizzlies. Memphis has won five of the six games in which he's scored 20 points.

    He's hitting 50.5 percent from the field. Also, he's had some rhythm at the line, shooting 79.6 percent.

    Indeed, this isn't a guarantee that he'll shoot well all season. Last season, he shot 49.2 percent in the first two months.

    His rebounding has been good, but hasn't yet been at the level of his three full seasons in Memphis. He's pulling down 10.2 rebounds per 36 minutes. His offensive rebounding percentage is nine percent, 4.8 percent lower than last year. 

    That's concerning, but he has plenty of time to rebound.

    Another impressive point is that he has nine double-doubles.

    Grade: A-

Tony Allen

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    Tony Allen is playing at an amazing level on both ends of the floor.

    As usual, he's pulling the sled on defense. Allen is allowing 100 points per 100 possessions and grabbing 2.2 steals per game. He had six steals against the Houston Rockets.

    He puts forward a strong effort on the boards, pulling down 3.5 rebounds per game.

    On the other end, he's producing at a surprising clip. Allen's averaging 10.1 points per game on 54.6 percent shooting. He has three games with 15 or more points, only two short of his total from last season.

    Long-term reliance on Allen in scoring wouldn't bode well, but if he can lead the team well with Gasol out, the Grizz will contend for the playoffs.

    Grade: A

Mike Conley

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    Mike Conley has flown off the ramp of last year's second-half production to become a genuine leading scorer.

    Conley is shooting very well. He's hitting 49 percent from the field. After a poor start behind the three-point line, he's closing the gap, having dragged his figure to 33.3 percent. At 87.5 percent, his free-throw shooting is superb.

    As his shot chart shows, he's shooting 69 percent at the rim after making around half at that range before this season.

    Also, he's taking more shots than ever with 14.7 per game.

    While his shooting is terrific, his defense isn't. He's allowing 106 points per 100 possessions and picking up 1.6 steals per game.

    Grade: B

Tayshaun Prince

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    Tayshaun Prince is having a quiet start. 

    His offense has been silent thus far. He's scoring 7.4 points per game on 42.7 percent shooting. His 21.4 percent three-point clip gives no hope that he could be a real option from downtown.

    With a 14-percent usage rate and two assists per game, Prince hasn't had much involvement.

    Fortunately, he's also not costing the team at all, as he's turning it over 0.9 times per 36 minutes.

    Prince, who averages 4.6 rebounds per game for his career, hasn't been as active on the boards, pulling down 3.2 per game.

    His defense isn't helping, as he's allowing 108 points per 100 possessions.

    Grade: C

Jerryd Bayless

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    Jerryd Bayless is raising the type of concern that arose with his start last year, when he shot 38.6 percent in the first two months.

    His shooting is poor. Bayless is shooting 30.3 percent from the field, including 23.1 percent from beyond the arc.

    He has 17 assists to 12 turnovers.

    This has placed his offensive rating at 82 points produced per 100 possessions.

    On the bright side, he's 13-of-15 at the free-throw line.

    Grizzlies fans can only hope that Bayless rediscovers his shot as he did down the stretch of the 2012-13 season.

    Grade: F

Mike Miller

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    Mike Miller is grinding it out at a surprising level. Not only is he draining three-pointers, but he's also working the hustle board.

    Miller is shooting as well as ever from three-point range, hitting 44.9 percent. He has hit multiple three-pointers eight times.

    He's attacking the boards, averaging 3.9 per game. He has four games with five or more rebounds.

    Miller is averaging two assists per game.

    As he shows that level of energy in 23.5 minutes per game, one may wonder how long he can play like that without becoming injured. But if he can continue to produce, he might help the Grizz stay afloat.

    Grade: A

Quincy Pondexter

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    Quincy Pondexter has started to revert to his old form. He's shooting poorly out of the gate, especially beyond the arc. His 30.4 percent three-point figure leaves him with much ground to recover to reach the 39.5 percent that he made last season.

    He has hit multiple threes in two games.

    Generally, he's struggling with his shot. Pondexter is shooting 34.6 percent from the field and has hit half his shots twice.

    He isn't changing his status as a three-point specialist who doesn't create opportunities. Forty-four percent of his shots come from behind the line. His 16-percent usage rate is 2.2 percent higher than his career rate, but not significantly different.

    Even with a modest increase in usage, he's turning it over more often, losing the ball 2.1 times per 36 minutes, 0.9 more than last year.

    Grade: D-

Kosta Koufos

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    Koufos hasn't been too bad, but he meets a new challenge with Gasol out. 

    His shooting has been on and off. He's made half his shots in half the games in which he had more than two attempts. His 48.7 percent field-goal mark must be picked up. 

    The offseason acquisition from the Denver Nuggets is competing hard on the boards. He's averaging a team-high 10.3 rebounds per 36 minutes. He's even outdoing Randolph on the offensive glass, averaging 3.7 per 36 minutes, one more than him.

    He's defending as well as almost anyone for the Grizzlies. Koufos is allowing 103 points per 100 possessions.

    He began his starting stint right with eight points, 13 rebounds and two blocks.

    Grade: C+

Ed Davis

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    With Dave Joerger seemingly putting little stock in him, Ed Davis isn't doing much in his limited playing time. Davis is shooting poorly for the type of shots he launches. He's hitting 47.4 from the field. His shot chart shows him dropping 52.4 percent at the rim, where he takes most of his shots. 

    Last season, he made 66.8 percent at the rim while draining 53.9 percent overall.

    His rebounding, which would be key if he were to become Zach Randolph's replacement, has fallen off. He's averaging 9.1 rebounds per 36 minutes, 1.1 fewer than last year. He has three games with five or more boards.

    To his credit, he's holding his ground on defense. Davis is allowing 104 points per 100 possessions, and only two Grizzlies players have better defensive ratings. He has 2.1 blocks per 36 minutes. Against the Raptors, he swatted three shots.

    Nonetheless, Davis, who will be a restricted free agent after this year, appears more likely to be working for new life in Memphis than Randolph's starting job.

    Grade: D


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    Nick Calathes

    Calathes has found his way into the rotation in a few games, having averaged 11.5 minutes per game in eight contests. He put in double-digit minutes in four affairs. 

    His output has been underwhelming. Calathes is shooting 34.8 percent from the field, having made multiple shots twice. He has 15 turnovers to 19 assists. Twice he has coughed up the ball four times.

    Calathes' mistakes are alarming at a per-36-minute rate. He averages 5.9 turnovers and 5.1 fouls per 36 minutes.

    Grade: F


    Jon Leuer

    After starring in the preseason, Leuer is falling from the radar. In six appearances, he's averaging 7.5 minutes per game. Leuer is shooting 31.6 percent from the field, having failed to make half his shots in the four games in which he took more than two.

    Leuer's lack of rebounding is concerning. He hasn't had more than two rebounds since the opener.

    He'll grab additional minutes with Gasol out, but more production is needed for significant playing time after his return.

    Grade: F


    Jamaal Franklin

    With 29 minutes in four games, Franklin is gathering enough playing time to stay visible. In both games in which he saw 10 minutes, the rookie made some noise without costing the team. He scored four points on 2-of-4 shooting with two rebounds in his debut against the Pelicans. Against the Pacers, he had four rebounds.

    While his ball-handling is a concern, he's avoided making many mistakes, having turned it over once.

    Grade: B