Monday, December 16, 2019

Quarter Season Progress Report, Part Two: Hope on Board

Posted By on Mon, Dec 16, 2019 at 9:03 AM

click to enlarge Jae Crowder - LARRY KUZNIEWSKI
  • Larry Kuzniewski
  • Jae Crowder

This is part two of a three-part series of player progress reports from the first quarter of the season. You can read part one here.

Dillon Brooks - So far Brooks appears to have bounced back well after missing most of last season due to injury. He’s had some tremendous shooting games, and the Grizzlies are undefeated this season when Brooks scores 20 or more points. These are all good things and should be celebrated as such. However, inconsistency in scoring is still an issue with Brooks, as is the number of fouls he’s amassing. None of this is so dire as to make him a liability, at least not yet. His potential far outweighs his shortcomings. B  


Jae Crowder - Crowder has been the face of veteran leadership for the Grizzlies, in addition to playing the largest number of minutes of any player on the roster. He does a lot of things well, better than perhaps was expected. Even on the nights that he’s not producing a ton of points, he’s obviously putting in a lot of effort in other ways. His game-winning bucket against the Brooklyn Nets brought the Grizzlies their first victory of the season, and it was just his second made shot of the game. Crowder also has the second-highest number of rebounds for the Grizzlies this season and the third-highest number of assists. Bossman, indeed. A


Solomon Hill - Any evaluation of Hill must also come with the knowledge that his arrival in the Bluff City facilitated the departure of Chandler Parsons and his albatross of a contract. For that alone, I’m willing to give him a key to the city. On a team as young and green as the Grizzlies are currently, there is value in having experienced players on the roster. As it stands, Hill has outperformed expectations and offered real contributions on the court. All in all, the Grizzlies are getting more from Hill than just salary cap relief. Given the context in which he was acquired, any actual basketball accomplishments are a bonus.

Jonas Valanciunas - The Lithuanian big man is the sole remaining player acquired from the trade that sent Marc Gasol to Toronto last year. Valanciunas has been the picture of doing more with less for the Grizzlies this season. His minutes per game are lower than they were last year after he joined the Grizzlies, but his shooting percentages are higher. As the team’s primary rebounder, I would like to see Valanciunas having more double-digit rebound games. But for a team in the earliest stages of a rebuild, with a new coach and multiple inexperienced players, the Grizzlies are getting their money’s worth out of him so far this season. A

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