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With building anticipation and excitement, fans are turning focus towards the oncoming season that is beginning to loom over the horizon. This season brings new expectations and changes that leave some optimistic and others anxious. The historic accomplishment of the Grizzlies franchise by making it to the Western Conference Finals brings a renewed confidence for not just this coming playoffs, but the regular season as well. Therefore, the players are working rigorously over the summer to further their success and capitalize on the fiery appetite to win that is instilled in the team. As this season approaches, now is a good time to evaluate how our players should perform this year. The person I want to bring attention to is our very own, Jerryd Bayless.

Jerryd Bayless was an important asset for the Grizzlies last year. He was able to provide something off the bench that was needed – instant offense. For this season, that is something we demand. The addition of Mike Miller could take some responsibility off of Bayless, but when looking to the bench for a gunner that can go out there and cause significant damage quickly, he is the one to turn to. Jerryd’s case is an interesting one when you want to project his numbers for the upcoming season. For most of the players on our team, like Marc Gasol and Mike Conley, they have little fluctuations in their overall statistics after each season. Their growth each year is steady and minimal. Yet, when you peer into the statistics for Bayless, it is quite opposite. Looking at his stats from the surface, it can appear perplexing. When you put context into what the numbers could mean, it can allow you to see something really interesting season after season – a pattern becomes evident.

Unlike most players on our team, there is an apparent story beneath his numbers that can help determine his performance. It is a small sample size, but there is a pattern nonetheless, and if the pattern continues then Jerryd Bayless should have an exceptional year.

Projecting statistics for players are not all black and white. Projections can be very helpful and even somewhat accurate, but can only do what the majority of fans do, look at the surface. It is fine to use because most players show steady statistical increase year after year which allows one to make a valid prediction. It doesn’t work for everyone though, especially when statistics for players vary dramatically each season. Jerryd Bayless is an interesting case though because when you look at his stats for each season you begin to see a rhythm appear.

Jerryd Bayless

Bayless has been quite the journeyman, having been on four different NBA teams even though he has had a relatively short career of only 5 years. That can be a good thing for us because it really allows us to see the pattern. I’m going to focus on his shooting since that is where it is most evident. Let’s take his first two years in the NBA when he was with the Portland Trailblazers. The first year with the Trailblazers his stats for shooting were relatively low. Then, the second year on the same team his percentages went up significantly. It increased +4.9 in his FG%, +3 in FT%, +5.6 for his 3P%. Those are big leaps for shooting percentages when they are just a year apart.

After Portland, Bayless was traded to the Toronto Raptors where he played two years. It is the same deal when you see how his stats compare. First year his statistics were not that impressive and then they increased extensively the second year. For his second year in Toronto, it increased +4.2 in his FT%, decreased -0.7 in his FG%, but look at this – for his 3 Point field goal percentage, it increased +7.5! The chart below will help you visualize the increment over a two-year period. Now Bayless is going into his second year in Memphis and you can recognize that each time he is on a team, the second year shows us that his stats increases, especially in his 3 point shooting. Why? Apart from what the numbers can tell us, if you think of external factors that could influence play production, the answer is pretty simple – adjustment.

TEAM FG% FT% 3P%
Portland 36.5% 80.6% 25.9%
Portland 41.4% 83.6% 31.5%
Toronto 42.9% 81% 34.8%
Toronto 42.2% 85.2% 42.3%
Memphis 41.9% 83.6% 35.3%

In basketball, when you are introduced to a new team, the adjustment period can be arduous. Imagine yourself being in high school again, and you have to move to another state. You are going to have to go to a new school that you are completely unfamiliar with. The location, your schedule, and the students, you don’t know what to expect from any of it. The adjustment period of settling in and finding your place isn’t something that happens overnight. It is long and can take a year before you are finally comfortable. It is the same when a player finds themselves on a different team for the first time, but in basketball, you have to familiarize yourself with the players, coaches, management, your role, etc. This is very demanding because the team is still expecting the very best of the player at the same time. This period of naturalizing yourself into a new environment can easily affect your play production, especially if you are playing the point guard position. You not only have to build chemistry and synergy with the team, but you also have to learn where each player wants the ball to shoot or post up. Jerryd Bayless had to go through this adjustment period three times (four if you count the one year he played with New Orleans). When you look at the chart and compare his metrics to his second year, you can see how the adjustment period of the first year was a heavy influence on his performance.

Jerryd Bayless

Going into his second year on the Memphis Grizzlies, it is apparent Jerryd is comfortable with the team now, considering he has decided to stay with us for another year. He often praises the fan support, saying it is second-to-none. Jerryd also has raved about the camaraderie the players have with one another, and he has spoken about the positive relationship that he has with the Head Coach, Dave Joerger. These are all positive factors that will allow a player to excel. So, this is what we all can expect.

I believe Jerryd Bayless will have an exceptional year. It wouldn’t surprise me if he has a break out year for us this coming season and becomes a top scorer. We can all assume that our team will be working at bettering our offense and shooting; taking into account that the adjustment period is over for Bayless, it isn’t off the wall to foresee his shooting percentages boost greatly.

What should we project his numbers to be when we take into account the external factors that could affect them? When looking at the pattern between the second year he is on a team and the external factors, I predict Bayless to have a performance similar to his second year with the Toronto Raptors. If you average the increments for every second year he was with a team, you should get projections like the following:

TEAM FG% FT% 3P%
TORONTO 42.2% 85.2% 42.3%
MEMPHIS 41.9% 83.6% 35.3%
MEMPHIS 43.6% 87.2% 41.8%

These metrics are about what his play production was for his 2nd year in Toronto. They are also what you should expect if you take into account that Bayless has now adjusted and is familiar with his role, with his team, and has built good chemistry with the players. Overall, every fan of the Memphis Grizzlies should be excited not just to see how well the team will play, but also the exceptional performance of Jerryd Bayless that will likely be displayed for the 2013-2014 season!

Antonia Buffalino has always been a Memphian even though she was born in Pennsylvania. Antonia has played volleyball and done some cheerleading but never found a passion for pro sports until attending a Grizz game with her mother .From that moment on her love for the NBA and the Grizzlies was ignited. Now, she has found an admiration and respect for the game as well as the Grizzlies players and their impact on the city.

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