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I hate losses for our boys in blue as much as anybody — particularly lopsided blowouts like the Mavs and Clippers games. But I must admit that the Grizzlies 12-2 start sure seems like it was ages ago, now doesn’t it? And with the offense stalling and people waiting for various and sundry shoes to drop, there’s all kinds of speculation that Rudy Gay will/should be traded; that Coach Lionel Hollins won’t be renewed, and that the new ownership group is going to mess up a good thing.

Then I remind myself of a couple of things. One is: How much different has this winter been from earlier ones under Coach Hollins?

In December 2010, The Grizzlies went 6-8. This season? 7-7.

By January 16, 2011, The Grizzlies went 5-3. This January so far? 5-3.

Your rather obvious question? Why are you jumping back to 2010, Lee? Well, remember that little annoying thing called the NBA lockout? Makes comparing this season to last season rather difficult, but let’s try anyway. With the Grizzlies’ 36 total games this season, the team has played roughly 44 percent of it’s schedule. Accounting for a shortened 66-game schedule last season, the 44 percent line would equal 29 games. How would that compare?

Lockout season record: 15-14 (.517) This season: 24-12 (.666)

So what am I saying?

I’m saying that just as we’ve apparently forgotten that 12-2 start this season, we’ve also forgotten that the Grizzlies historically start seasons losing a lot of games. Through the first 14 games in Oct./Nov. 2010, the Grizzlies went 5-9. In the lockout season, through 11 games (again weighting the games) the team went 5-6.

I’m also saying that under Coach Hollins, it’s not really at all uncommon for this squad to hover around .500 during December, January & February, before hitting their stride in the Spring. Last season, after that 5-6 start, the team went 36-19 the rest of the way (.655) for that period. After January 16, 2011, the Grizzlies went 27-15 (.643) during that period. And keep in mind that Rudy went down in January 2011 and Zach went down in January 2012.

If the Grizz hold true to their historic patterns and hit their stride for the remainder of the season — playing roughly .650 ball — their record for this period would be 30-16. And here’s where that strong start comes back in, giving the Grizzlies a 54-28 overall record, which almost certainly locks them as a top four seed in the West. More importantly, they typically close the regular season strong with a lot of momentum for the playoffs.

So call off the apocalypse. I hate watching the Bears lose these winnable games too,  but let’s face it: It’s kinda normal for this part of the season.

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7 Responses to The Glass is Half-Full

  1. Chris FaulknerNo Gravatar says:

    Amen, Lee. This is still the most talented and honed squad the Grizzlies have ever had. It’s just no fun to be blown out at home. We’ll get the groove back though!

  2. concernedgrizzfanNo Gravatar says:

    Thanks for the article, whenever our team has a downturn everyone seems to think the sky is falling! I have a unique question for you…this recent story of Hollins being against analytics has been bugging me and my conspiracy led mind wonders if someone within the Grizz organization planted the story??? Jason Levien has been mum about the future of trade talks and Hollins’ future. When I google news on Hollins’ this “story” of his dislike for analytics overwhelms the internet. Is it possible Levien with his ties to Sacramento tossed a lob to Tom Ziller over at SB Nation (Sacramento Royalty) to paint his coach as a bad guy? I’m sure I’m crazy, but I’ve just been amazed at how much play that this story where Hollins even states that he’s not against analytics has gotten so much play and been picked up by other newspapers. I also understand Levien has a sorted history as a slippery guy that got him removed in both Sacramento and in Philadelphia…just thought I’d throw it out there….any thoughts???

    • Lee Eric SmithNo Gravatar says:

      Hmmm . . .

      I can’t speak on what, say, Ron Tillery, Geoff Calkins or Chris Vernon have reported. But I have been in the room when analytics came up. My impression was that Hollins is NOT against analytics, but he very much coaches on “feel” for what the game calls for at the time.

      Furthermore, in John Hollinger’s interview with us, he seemed pretty clear that it’s not an “either-or” kind of things. He’ll get the analytics to Hollins and the coaching staff, and leave it to them to implement things into strategy.

      So, say for instance, the numbers say that Marc Gasol’s is better offensively on the right block than the left. First of all, as the guy who works with these guys every day, I’m sure Hollins already knows that. But if he sees with his own two eyes a matchup on the left block that Marc can exploit, he’s going to tell Marc to go to the left block.

      If the numbers say that Wayne Ellington’s production goes up once he’s played at least 10 minutes, Lionel Hollins isn’t going to leave him in the game if he’s not producing in that time span.

      Again, from what I can tell, he’s not going to blow off the analytics — he’s a competitor, looking for every legal way to win. But he’s not going to make in-game decisions based on a spreadsheet.

      As for his relationship with Levien & Co. I’m sure they’re still feeling each other out. But if Levien or Hollinger ever asked his thoughts on analytics, Hollins would tell them in his uniquely gruff, no-nonsense way.

      I also doubt Levien would undermine his coach like that. First of all, he’s a smart guy, and undermining his coach would not help win games. Secondly, Pera & Levien are the new kids on the block. The city already loves Lionel Hollins. It would be a PR disaster if they dealt with him in a shady manner. That’s why people are upset they haven’t extended his contract. I think they’re smart enough not to do that.

      • concernedgrizzfanNo Gravatar says:

        Well I think you said it best…not extending Hollins would be a PR disaster, hence why people are in fact upset. Also, isn’t it PR 101 to never directly put rumors out there and instead leak the story??? I still don’t understand why the SB Nation article keeps stating he’s against analytics when the article starts off saying…he’s not against them and then the article goes on to quote him as saying that analytics have a place in the game, but that they aren’t the “be all, end all”.

  3. GrizzliesDieHardNo Gravatar says:

    Most talented? Hardly. Lee is dead in with this article, but the old ownership and Lionel Hollins have really frustrated a die hard Grizzlies fan. I don’t understand why Hollins let Wroten Jr. sit on the bench for the first half of the season and not develop when we know he’s the best backup pg option on the team. I don’t understand why Hollins had a problem with a talented guard like Vasquez who possessed a go to move (the floater) and was a dead eye passer. Poindexter is decent The lobs he threw to Arthur are the same lobs he throws today to Anthony Davis while ranking third in the league in assist. Bayless is a strong yet undersized off guard who is terrible at running a unit . I think we will turn it around, but Wroten should be playing because he’s better than the guy in front of him. Lionel Hollins wouldn’t play Eric Bledsoe if he were here.

  4. GrizzliesDieHardNo Gravatar says:

    I left a sentence out due to my mobile phone…… Poindexter is decent but what would make the Grizz think to trade for a guy when we had a cheap valuable first round pick like Vasquez. We couldn’t pay Vasquez Poindexter’s salary out to return. SMH. Lionel Hollins is stubborn and refuses to play young guys and it is going to either cost us another series or cost him his job. Vasquez was a 6’6 point guard. SMH.

    • kasdNo Gravatar says:

      agree 100%! That team had much more talent! Vasquez, OJ are absolute beasts compared to Bayless and Ellington. I think people confuse health with talent. We are the HEALTHIEST team, not the best or most talented. As I posted before we are 12-11 since our 12-2 start, and if the season ended today we are now 6-8 against western conf. playoff teams. This team can barely score! I never thought I’ll see another performance where a professional NBA team cannot score a single bucket for 9+ minutes (like Clippers Playoffs Game 1)…at some point you have to look at what the coach is doing. Is he really unable to draw up a single play that will get us a bucket? It’s like we didn’t really improve at all in the last 3 seasons….our bench is even weaker, Conley is back to being totally average, and we are playing like we learned nothing….. I know the cliche answer “Lionel is the winningest coach…bla…bla…bla”…well he is also the longest tenured coach so that doesn’t really say much.

      @concernedgrizzfan: There is no conspiracy against Hollins….but if your owner is in the tech business (apple, ubiquity) and he just hired the brightest statistical mind in basketball as VP and your coach goes out there talking about stats/numbers don’t matter and voicing his displeasure for ownership shopping Rudy it’s gonna be a story! (especially in the last year of his contract)….not to mention it’s never a good idea to do all this through the media and not eye to eye….his is an audio interview…not some bs rumor…not a conspiracy…he said it….not Levien….

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