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With the playoffs upon us, it’s time to reflect back on the regular season and see how things look now that the first long grind is over with.

Red

1. MVP – Marc Gasol. The numbers when he is on the floor versus being off it tell the tale both in wins/losses and in the overall level of play.
2. 6th Man – Mike Miller. He started off deferential and hesitant, but by the end of the year, everyone was clamoring for him to get the ball early and often.
3. Most Improved – Nick Calathes. The learning curve for rookie point guards is steep, but he handled himself amazingly well after a very rocky start.
4. Best Leader – Mike Conley. MC11 has been a steadying calm throughout a season of turmoil.
5. Most Clutch Player – Mike Conley. Is there anyone else’s hands that you would truly prefer to have the ball in at this point?
6. Best Win of the Year – Miami. That win woke up the team and began the momentum that carried them to their playoff berth.
7. Standout Moment/Play of the Year- Two from James Johnson: the off-the-backboard alley-oop to himself against the Clippers and the huge steal and three to force overtime against San Antonio.

8. Best New Addition (Player) – Courtney Lee. The team needed a 3-and-D guy after Quincy Pondexter went down, and CLee has filled that role very well while providing some much-needed scoring outbursts at opportune times.
9. Best Nickname for James Johnson – Dr. JJ (shoutout to Ben Brown)
10. Favorite In-Arena Timeout Skit (Deep Thoughts, Great Moments in Literature, et al) – While I love (LOVELOVELOVE) Great Moments in Literature with Jon Leuer, the recent addition of having Grizz come out to wrestling entrances takes the cake. Well done, Jason Potter and Co.!

Jonathan

1. MVP – Michael Conley, Jr. What can you say about him? He carried the team through Marc’s injury and every time we needed a clutch basket, Mike got it.
2. 6th Man – Mike Miller. We hoped to get 50 games out of him but got 82. He was huge in the second half of the season.
3. Most Improved – tough. We are pretty veteran heavy and guys generally gave you what you expected. I guess you have to give it to Nick Calathes, even though he wasn’t in the league last year.
4. Best Leader – guess you can’t pick all 3 guys, so I’ll go ZBo who never hesitates to put the team on his back.
5. Most Clutch Player – Conley. Did you see him bury the free throws to beat Dallas or hit the runner to beat NOLA?
6. Best Win of the Year – at PHX. Most important win for obvious reasons and they stood toe-to-toe with a team fighting for it’s life on it’s home floor.
7. Standout Moment/Play of the Year – James Johnson’s steal and 3 against San Antonio to finish a 12-point comeback in the final 1:35 to force OT.
8. Best New Addition (Player) – Calathes. Having a steady hand behind Mike has been a huge boost for the team.
9. Best Nickname for James Johnson – Damage Hammer.
10. Favorite In-Arena Timeout Skit (Deep Thoughts, Great Moments in Literature, et al) – Grizz’s series of wrestling intros.

Chip

1. MVP – Marc Gasol. I know Conley played great but the big guy’s winning percentage tells the tale.
2. 6th Man – Tony Allen – He may have come off the bench for the 2nd half of the season but he was the main performer.
3. Most Improved – Jon Leuer – He may have disappeared as the season progressed but he took a major step forward.
4. Best Leader – Mike Conley- Mike has kept the team running all year.
5. Most Clutch Player – Zach Randolph- his season wasn’t always great but when the team needed a basket it was usually Z-Bo who got it.
6. Best Win of the Year – Dallas- the team had clinched the playoffs but it was a huge win entering the playoffs
7. Standout Moment/Play of the Year- Tony Allen’s full length drive to end the 3rd quarter at Phoenix. The game was looking like it was slipping away before TA went end to end to tie the game and change the momentum
8. Best New Addition (Player) – Courtney Lee – James Johnson deserves some talk too, but CLee moved into the starting lineup and helped right the ship
9. Best Nickname for James Johnson – JJ – there are numerous options here but everyone knows JJ in Memphis
10. Favorite In-Arena Timeout Skit (Deep Thoughts, Great Moments in Literature, et al) – Deep Thoughts in a landslide

Zach

1. MVP- Marc Gasol. 40-18 with Gasol. 10-14 without him. 33-13 since Gasol returned from his injury January 14.
2. 6th Man- Nick Calathes. This is such a tough decision, but I’m giving it to Calathes because he was crucial during a stretch with Mike Conley out, as well as being the first PG in years to develop, stick around, and be a solid backup.
3. Most Improved- Mike Conley. Another tough one because ZBo has been incredible this season, but Mike has reached that top tier of point guards, his PER 7th best among PGs.
4. Best Leader- Tayshaun Prince. Through all of the boos early in the season, his injuries and expectations, Tayshaun has been vocal on the bench, on the court, and in the locker room, showing his veteran leadership and coaching guys up when it mattered.
5. Most Clutch Player- Tony Allen. He has come up time after time after time with a play that changes the outcome of the game. It usually isn’t e final game winning play, but it usually happens within the last 2 minutes that gives the team and fans energy and hope.
6. Best Win of the Year- I’m gonna have to give this to that OKC win with Gasol coming back. It signaled to the fans and the team that the Grizzlies could do this. We could turn the ship around and make the playoffs and lo and behold, we did!
7. Standout Moment/Play of the Year- James Johnson throwing the ball off the backboard and dunking over DeAndre Jordan. I mean…..”murder”
8. Best New Addition (Player)- Courtney Lee. He gave the Grizzlies an injection of offense immediately and while slumping toward the end of the season, he delivered a steady and reliable mid range jump shot that the Grizzlies have not had for a while.
9. Best Nickname for James Johnson- Bloodsport
10. Favorite In-Arena Timeout Skit (Deep Thoughts, Great Moments in Literature, et al)- Early on it had to be Great Moments in Literature, but Grizz came through strong with his pro wrestler entrance music, so I have to give the late edge to him.

Steve

1. MVP – Mike Conley. He’s the engine that drives the Grizzlies, the only perimeter scoring option on far too many nights, and for the ESPN statheads, the team leader in PER and RPM.
2. 6th Man – Mike Miller. 82 games played, and 107 threes through the net.
3. Most Improved – Nick Calathes. I acknowledge that I’m kind of cheating with this one, but the Grizz returned so few players with enough previous Grizzly experience to go by, that Nick’s mid-season turnaround takes the cake in my book.
4. Best Leader – Marc Gasol. His on-court communication on the defensive end is the bedrock of the Grizzlies’ identity.
5. Most Clutch Player – Mike Conley. His 65.7 True Shooting Percentage in the last 5 minutes of games within 5 points or less blows his competitors out of the water, and there’s nobody else that I’ve got a go-to late game Tweet for. #CoolCatConley
6. Best Win of the Year - December 21st at the Knicks. The game itself wasn’t the most compelling, but it served as a turning point for the season. The win snapped a 5-game losing streak and propelled the Grizzlies to their subsequent 40-17 stretch to finish out the season. And it’s always nice to see ZBo do his thing in his old stomping grounds at the Garden.
7. Standout Moment/Play of the Year – The “Conley three – James Johnson steal – James Johnson three” sequence to knot it up in the final minute of regulation against San Antonio in early January. It doesn’t hurt that it was my first game at the Forum, which went from people filtering out of their seats to absolutely electric real fast.
8. Best New Addition (Player) – Nick Calathes. Being able to breathe when Conley takes a seat is a novel and awesome phenomenon.
9. Best Nickname for James Johnson – It’s tough to argue against Bloodsport.
10. Favorite In-Arena Timeout Skit (Deep Thoughts, Great Moments in Literature, et al) – Seeing as I’ve only been to the arena twice, I’m not at much liberty to say, but I love everything they’ve been doing with Grizz lately. Especially Stone Cold Grizz Austin.

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One Response to Regular Season Roundup

  1. Chip CrainNo Gravatar says:

    Best win was the victory over the Knicks? Sure I get it that he was there in person and all but stil…you can do better than that Steve!

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