One Team, One Stat: Extra chances for Grizzlies
NBA.com’s John Schuhmann gets you ready for the 2016-17 season with a key stat for each team in the league and shows you why it matters. Today, we look at the Memphis Grizzlies, who gave themselves extra chances by winning the turnover battle.
Via advantages in offensive rebounds and turnovers, the Memphis Grizzlies averaged 3.9 extra scoring chances per game, the biggest margin in the league last season.
The Grizzlies were the second worst shooting team in the league with an effective field goal percentage of 47.7 percent. They ranked in the bottom five in 3-pointers for the seventh straight season.
Defensively, they had taken a big step backward even before losing Marc Gasol for the season. And when they lost him, they ranked 27th on that end over their last 30 games. For the season, they ranked 24th in effective field goal percentage and last in opponent free throw rate.
But Memphis led the league in forcing turnovers for the third time in Tony Allen’s six seasons with the team. And with Mike Conley leading the league in assist-turnover ratio, the Grizzlies took care of the ball at a top-10 level. Shooting is the most important thing on both ends of the floor, but turnovers are still critical.
The Grizzlies also ranked fifth in the league in points from the free throw line and were a top-10 offensive rebounding team. But they scored just 1.15 second chance points per offensive rebound, the lowest rate in the league.
The Grizzlies went from outscoring their opponents by 3.1 points per 100 possessions in 2014-15 to getting outscored by 2.9 last season. Only the Phoenix Suns (-7.2 points per 100 possessions) took a bigger step backward in NetRtg.
With the addition of Chandler Parsons, they should be a better shooting team this year. With a healthy Gasol, they will be a better defensive team. New coach David Fizdale comes from Miami, where the Heat have had the league’s fifth best defense over the last 10 years.
And if the Grizzlies continue to give win the turnover battle by a wide margin and give themselves extra chances on the glass, they could get back to where they were two seasons ago.
10 MORE GRIZZLIES NOTES
They have been a below average offensive team in eight of the last nine seasons. The only exception was 2014-15, when they scored 0.03 more points per 100 possessions (103.05) than the league average (103.02).
The Grizzlies’ point differential of minus-2.2 per game was the third lowest for a playoff team in the last 20 years, trailing last year’s Brooklyn Nets (minus-2.9) and the ’96-97 LA Clippers (minus-2.4). Memphis was 42-40 with the point differential of a team that was 34-48. No other team had a bigger discrepancy between its actual win total and its “expected” win total based on point differential.
Opponents shot 33.8 percent of their shots from 3-point range, the highest rate in the league. In total, 65.2 percent of their opponents’ shots came from the restricted area or 3-point range, up from 58.2 percent in ’14-15. That was that biggest increase in the league.
According to SportVU, Memphis allowed 23.4 drives per game, the fewest in the league.
The Grizzlies were outscored by 136 points in the third quarter, but by just 48 points over the first, second and fourth quarters or overtime.
Memphis outscored its opponents by 30 points in 2,300 minutes with Conley and/or Gasol on the floor, but were outscored by 214 points in 1,665 minutes with neither on the floor.
According to SportVU, the Grizzlies took only 41.4 percent of their shots in the first 12 seconds of the shot clock, the third lowest rate in the league (higher than only the Toronto Raptors and Utah Jazz).
They allowed 7.0 more points per 100 possessions after the All-Star break (109.9) than they did before it (102.9). That was the league’s biggest post-break DefRtg regression.
Zach Randolph grabbed 15.3 percent of available rebounds last season, down from 18.8 percent in ’14-15. That was the third biggest decrease in rebounding percentage (-3.5%) among players who played at least 1,000 minutes both seasons. Gasol also saw a dip (-2.2%) in rebounding percentage.
Parsons recorded career highs in usage rate, effective field goal percentage and true shooting percentage last season. He saw a drop in his mid-range field goal percentage, but improvement in the restricted area (from 61.0 percent in ’14-15 to 67.6 percent) and from 3-point range (38.0 percent to 41.4 percent).
NBA TV’s Grizzlies preview premieres at 6 p.m. ET on Tuesday, Oct. 11.
John Schuhmann is a staff writer for NBA.com. You can e-mail him here and follow him on Twitter.
The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting.