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Are the Grizzlies really a better team without Morant?

Are the Grizzlies really a better team without Morant?

When Morant was a part of Memphis, the team got better every year as his numbers took off. The team from 34 wins to 56 wins is the embodiment of Morant’s growth from Rookie of the Year to becoming a first-team guard. Moreover, it cannot be ignored that during the 2018-19 season, the Memphis Grizzlies, Marc Gasol and Mike Conley, two former veterans, are still playing for the team. In the 2019-20 season, they There is still a lot to be done. If Morant didn’t come into the league in the first year, he made the team believe that it can build a team around them. This team can quickly strengthen, enter the playoffs the next year, and win this year. Second place in the Western District? In the first round of the playoffs against the Timberwolves, and his epic efficiency in the first three games of the second round (38.3 points, 8.3 assists, 6.7 rebounds and 50.6% shooting), he proved that he can play high-level games in important games. content, and the ability to lead the team to complete the comeback in the face of adversity. He is deeply trusted by his teammates and coaches. These are all demonstrations of leadership qualities.

Are the Grizzlies really a better team without Morant?

When asked how G5 would deal with the Grizzlies, Stephen Curry said, Whoop that trick! And a few hours later, the entire FedEx Stadium rang out with Whoop that trick! They cheered as the Warriors were trailing by more than 40 points.

Draymond Green spoke to the team before the game, telling his team that they intend to end the series today. Get ready to fight, this game can be ugly.

But obviously knowing it and being ready for it are two different things. 

The content of the Warriors’ game in this campaign can be simplified as: lack of focus and lack of confrontation. In the first half, they lost 22 possessions and fouled 14:7. The team trailed by 27 points. They shot decently, but dropped most of the ball they should have had the upper hand in the scramble and allowed the Grizzlies to easily get to the rim.

At that time, they need someone to get angry, tell their teammates that they don’t deserve to be a warrior, tell them that they are not satisfied with the performance of the team, tell them that this is not the attitude of a professional player; round in the game. It’s only the first two quarters, and there is every chance to tie. But that didn’t happen, they seemed to have decided to give up the game at half-time and things got completely out of hand in the second half.

A 27-point deficit is just a result, but it’s timidity that’s causing it all, and you get the feeling that the Warriors are spooked by Memphis’ zeal to fight.

The Warriors were already behind by 52 points with more than 3 minutes left in the third quarter, and the two live broadcasters also emphasized 3 times in a row: 52 points. At one point, Memphis had 31 more possessions than the Warriors. After a score of 46:57, the Warriors were hit with a 62:18 offensive.

This Warriors team is different from the dynasty team that year. Only 5 players in their team have experienced the playoffs, but one is injured and cannot play, one is a hard-working blue-collar team, and one has only returned to the court this season. The others were still young, and at that moment, the group wasn’t ready.

The words of Bobby Portis, who became the winner in another game, explain it all: Five years ago I would have been ready for the playoffs, but I couldn’t be ready for a moment like this. Five years ago I would have At 22 and still trying to figure out where I am in this league. I’m still figuring out how to help a team win, trying to get rotation time.

I was just working hard at that time, trying to carry it on, and never thinking about giving up. Now I'm in a good position to play for a championship team. It will take a few uphill battles to be able to compete for the title, and confidence is not obtained anywhere from the media coverage and the shouting of the home fans. You can only get it in the free throws that lock the victory at the countdown, the key defense in the heat of the game, and the defensive rebounds after the opponent's lore.

Right now, even players like Curry, Thompson and Green aren’t ready. A sharp and deep blow is necessary, and this game, which is up to 55 points behind, is a good wake-up call. The final loss of 39 points was also the biggest loss for the Warriors in the playoffs since Steve Kerr took over.

If anyone remembers, the same Grizzlies did it in a single game over the Thunder by 73 points in the regular season. Same branch means without Ja Morant.

In the regular season this season, when Morant was unavailable, the Grizzlies went 20-5 with a winning percentage of 80 percent. The super point guard was sidelined with a right knee injury last game, but the team led for 47 minutes before being reversed. It seems that, as Taylor Jenkins said, the Grizzlies’ roster is thick enough not to lose competitiveness without one player.

But when they beat the Warriors by 39 points in the playoffs today, the question actually started to get interesting.

Just how strong it is is to say what kind of undesirable side effects Morant has on this team.

Clearly, the 22-year-old has plenty of room for improvement on the defensive end. He’s 191, not too bad for a point guard, but at 79kg he’s not yet in professional shape. And his defensive crunch and enthusiasm are not enough by playoff standards.

As an opponent of the Grizzlies, the rest of the league sees it very clearly, which is why the Grizzlies constantly let Morant’s opponents attack him in the first round. Unlike Curry who was constantly called out in the 2016 championship game – the efficiency of the Cavaliers’ deliberately picking Curry to play was bad, and it was more to consume him, and he was indeed the best defensive end on the Warriors court. Challenge point – Attacking Morant is so effective that even Patrick Beverley can play like a star guard (including a classic Too Small gesture).

The Grizzlies’ coaching staff played Morant against Beverley most of the time in the playoffs this year, because that was the least defensive point in the series. Instead, Beverly acted like, Why don’t you get Morant? How can I score without him?

Beverley scored 29 points on 9-of-21 shooting in 36 minutes of the 6 games against each other, and 177 possessions occurred. The Timberwolves scored 175 points during that time, and also passed as many as 29 points. 10 assists.

Another Timberwolves player who has benefited from this is Anthony Edwards, who scored 19 points on 7-of-15 shooting in just 8 minutes of their 6 games.

During the regular season, the Grizzlies allowed 112.8 points per 100 possessions with Morant on the floor and 107.2 points per 100 possessions without him. In the playoffs, he dropped 111.1 points per 100 possessions with him and 106.5 without him.

Morant’s other problem: He’s been very efficient offensively, and he hasn’t had a noticeable reduction in efficiency going into the playoffs (except in the last round). But his offense is a bit too monolithic, almost all pick-and-roll with the ball (11.9 per game), plus some singles (3.4 per game), which makes the team’s overall operation too simple and more predictable.

Without him, the Grizzlies are playing faster and scoring more assists per 100 possessions, another side effect of his offense.

There are many reasons why the team performs better when the star is absent, but most people can easily simplify it to – the star is a cancer, and he is causing the team to play worse. This is what Bill Simmons referred to as Patrick Ewing. Simple can be simply explained as: When a star is not on the court due to injury, foul or various off-court issues, his team will inexplicably play better.

There’s a lot of metaphysics in this set of theories (intuition, really), but there’s a lot of shrewdness in it, and you have to admit that there are some players that could really be covered.

Whether that should include Morant, however, is debatable.

When Morant was a part of Memphis, the team got better every year as his numbers took off. The team from 34 wins to 56 wins is the embodiment of Morant’s growth from Rookie of the Year to becoming a first-team guard.

Moreover, it cannot be ignored that during the 2018-19 season, the Memphis Grizzlies, Marc Gasol and Mike Conley, two former veterans, are still playing for the team. In the 2019-20 season, they There is still a lot to be done. If Morant didn’t come into the league in the first year, he made the team believe that it can build a team around them. This team can quickly strengthen, enter the playoffs the next year, and win this year. Second place in the Western District?

In the first round of the playoffs against the Timberwolves, and his epic efficiency in the first three games of the second round (38.3 points, 8.3 assists, 6.7 rebounds and 50.6% shooting), he proved that he can play high-level games in important games. content, and the ability to lead the team to complete the comeback in the face of adversity. He is deeply trusted by his teammates and coaches. These are all demonstrations of leadership qualities.

And as a team with poor ability to create offensive opportunities on their own, the Grizzlies actually rely on Morant to cut a lot to tear up the defense (22.2 cuts per game in the playoffs, second in the league).

As far as this year’s second round of the playoffs is concerned, Morant’s shortcomings are at least magnified, because the Warriors are a team that pursues offensive balance, and they value space creation more than targeting opponents’ weaknesses. Therefore, with Jordan Poole shooting 77.8% against Morant and Curry’s 55.6% in this round of the series, the team did not deliberately create opportunities for their two guards to play alone.

In this way, such a disadvantage is actually the same as no, plus Morant’s super efficiency against the Warriors in the three games before the injury, at least in this round of the series, such a statement cannot be established.

But it’s also true that the Grizzlies are in better size without Morant, the team has almost no weaknesses on the defensive end, and because Jaren Jackson Jr. Morant cut into the space, so they started with Adams, which further strengthened the height of the inside line, and made the Warriors, who increased the proportion of two-pointers in this series in reverse, a bit painful. Offensively, they have a more even distribution of possessions and quicker counter-pushing, which is definitely something the Warriors don’t want to see.

In fact, as far as modern basketball is concerned, the league’s effective shooting percentage is increasing every year, because the average quality of players is increasing every year, so now the three-threat at the elbow and others retreating to the other side The style of play has disappeared, and every team must seek the best configuration for the overall offensive end of the lineup, and this may not necessarily represent the style of play that the leading star enjoys the most – but before 2010, the meaning of the two Not too bad.

Are the Grizzlies better without Morant? They’ve shown the depth and tenacity of their roster, proving they can handle long seasons and the first two rounds of the playoffs without a leader, but if they want to raise the cap, they’ll probably need Morant at some point. Fantastic performances on these nights.

You Ying is the exact opposite of him – he is a Hall of Fame center who is very stable, but rarely uses Beast Mode – but it also confirms the above facts, You Ying Mode is actually a smear of him.

In the first decade of Ewing’s career, the only playoff miss was due to a ridiculous suspension — Game 6 against the Heat in 1997, which the Knicks lost. The following 1997-98 season, after more than 1,000 games and more than 34,000 minutes, the heavy center’s body began to crumble. He missed 56 regular-season games that year, and Nick went 28-28 in those events. Then he missed 6 games in the playoffs, Nick still only got 3 wins and 3 losses, and stopped in the second round.

They reached the championship game in 1999, and that was the worst year for Ewing Theory proponents to hack him. Because this team has transformed from an inside-the-core style of play to an outside-in chaos, miraculously slashed the Heat and Pacers that sent them to fishing in the previous two years. Moreover, Ewing’s performance dropped sharply. He only played 2 games in the Eastern Conference Finals, and the team successfully entered the championship game, creating the craziest old eight legend in the history of the league.

But those critics won’t mention that Youying blocked a younger, in-game Alonzo Mourning in the decisive round of Game 5, where his scoring, rebounding And playing time is the most on the team, and scoring 22 points is a game-high. New York went 8-3 in the 11 games that Ewing could play in the playoffs that year. In the nine games he’s missed, they’re just 4-5.

In September 2000, Nick traded him to the Seattle SuperSonics. So they failed to make the playoffs for the first time in a decade. FOX Sports did statistics that year, and in the 20 years after the Nick traded for Ewing, they lost more games than any team in the league, with a record of 643 wins and 965 losses. Repeat: Bottom in the NBA.

From 1988 to 2000, Nick’s record was 583 wins and 369 losses, with a winning percentage of 612. Only the Chicago Bulls in the East have a better record in the regular season and more wins in the playoffs.

Ewing is indeed not a center who can dominate the game on the offensive end in the playoffs, which is why the upper limit of the team with him as the core is not high. But in any case, he was the base for that Knicks team; they probably wouldn’t have made the playoffs for a few years without him in the 1990s. This is beyond question.

And Morant’s questioning is the opposite of Ewing. The Grizzlies don’t need him to get good results in the regular season. Because the size of this team is too ideal, minus Morant, they have Bane, Jones, Melton in the backcourt; Dillon Brooks, Zaire Williams, Kyle Anderson in the front; Jackson in the interior , Clark, Tillman and Adams. No matter which team they play against, they have advantages in athleticism, wingspan, and flexibility, which is why they can still play competitively even without their core players.

So far in this round of the series, the Warriors have led only 58 minutes, while the Grizzlies have led 182 minutes, but the Warriors lead by a big score 3:2. In terms of pure combat power on paper, the Grizzlies may no longer lose to the Bay Area, and the style of play is even more competitive, but in terms of experience and the speed of the coaching team’s on-the-spot adjustment, they are still slightly inferior. So they ended up losing more games even though they held down most of the time.

I think Ewing has used his entire career to automatically disillusion the Ewing Theory – in theory, as long as a player is serious about playing, there is no way that the team is better without him, unless there is another player on the team who is better than him. better player.

And considering that Morant’s chances of playing again in this series are not high, he can only use the future to prove it.

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