In this week’s edition of the Brofessor’s Digest, we dish out the NBA POTW awards as well as talk Grizz drama and Twitter beef between superstars.
Players of the Week:
East: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks 34p/11r/7.5a
Since the firing of their former coach, Jason Kidd, the Bucks have gone on a three game win streak. Those wins all came last week against the Suns, Nets, and Bulls. Though this was not very steep competition, Giannis took this schedule as an opportunity to showcase his abilities and add on to his potential MVP resume. He did not play in the game vs the Suns, but during the two game stretch he averaged a double double and did not miss a 3pt attempt. It is good to see that the loss of a coach he respected has not negatively impacted his on-court performance.
West: Russell Westbrook, OKC Thunder 36.5/7.8/9.8
Last week was the stage for several excellent performances in the West. This was probably the hardest week to decide a winner for the POTW honors so far this season, but with his team going 4-0 and winning against the Nets, Wizards, Pacers, and 76ers, I had to go with Russ. As you will find out later in this post, this was a loaded decision and entertainment value was admittedly factored in. However you wanna slice and dice it, Westbrook is on a roll right now and so is his team, who has won their last 8 games and are the hottest team in the NBA right now. If you have been sleeping on them this season after a slow start, it’s time to wake up and pay attention.
Drama in Grind City
Late last week the news that Grizzlies’ point guard Mike Conley would be shut down the rest of the season for ankle surgery was announced. This came as a sigh of relief for many of us who are looking towards the future and desire a high lottery draft pick this off season, combined with a healthy core next season.
Shortly after that information went public, Grizzlies GM, Chris Wallace, sent out this email to season ticket holders:
First, on behalf of the players, coaches and the entire Grizzlies organization, I’d like to thank you for your continued support in standing by your team this year.
As MVP Season Ticket Holders, I wanted to make sure that you heard directly from me that unfortunately Mike Conley is going to need surgery to smooth a small bone protrusion in his heel that continues to cause pain and soreness. Although he will be unavailable for the rest of this season, Mike is expected to make a full recovery in time for training camp next year. Mike has been extremely diligent as we pursued multiple different approaches to alleviate the pain before deciding surgery was the best solution.
So, what does that mean for the balance of this season, which to date has not gone as we had planned and hoped? Simply put, we are committed to playing hard and playing the right way night in and night out, while developing our young talent and instilling within them the winning culture we have built in Memphis.
Beyond our play on the court the rest of this year, we will remain aggressive in evaluating opportunities to improve our team, whether that’s through player development, the NBA draft, free agency or trades.
I understand you may have questions and look forward to answering them in person. So please save the date and join me Wednesday, February 14th at 6pm in the Built Ford Tough Training Facility for an exclusive MVP Chalk Talk before our game with the Thunder. Details will follow, so check your inbox for the invitation in the coming days.
In the meantime, I deeply appreciate your continued support of the Grizzlies and look forward to speaking with many of you soon.
Take it for what you will, but it certainly got the rumor mill going in M-Town. A back and forth began on Twitter Sunday afternoon between the Grizz beat writer for the local paper and Grizzlies’ most injury prone player, Chandler Parsons.
Should have tweeted several days ago what I heard about Mike Conley needing surgery… Not confirmed but hearing that Grizzlies have approached Chandler Parsons' people about injury retirement (of course, they will deny).
— Ronald Tillery (@CAGrizBeat) January 28, 2018
— Chandler Parsons (@ChandlerParsons) January 28, 2018
— Ronald Tillery (@CAGrizBeat) January 28, 2018
To hear more about our takes on the Grizz and their current situation, check out our all-Grizz edition of the Backdoor Cut podcast
People seem to love to start rumors regarding Chandler (incorrectly in that particular case), so it will be interesting to see if there is any validity to Tillery’s claim. Things are getting feisty in Memphis and we will be sure to keep you posted on how this story develops. Follow me on Twitter to stay up to date.
Joel vs. Russ: The battle of Petty Princes
In what can be described as a classic Russell Westbrook performance (37/9/14), the Thunder defeated the 76ers by ten points on Sunday. The outcome of the game, however, was not the story of note. The main takeaway was the game inside the game, one between two “Princes of Pettiness”, our guys Joel and Russ.
Less than 5 minutes into the game, Embiid caught the ball at the top of the key and gave a ball fake that threw Steven Adams off just enough that he opened up enough room for Embiid to take a stroll down the lane and throw down a monstrous dunk over Russ, complete with stare down.
— InsideHoops.com NBA (@InsideHoops) January 28, 2018
Westbrook, tried to get the last laugh of the game as he dribbled out the clock to seal the Thunder’s 122-112 victory at home. Of course he did this while locking eyes with Joel, complete with cold gaze.
Russ dribbling out the clock staring at Embiid this is too good ima faint pic.twitter.com/pRcLU7ZPHR
— Rob Perez (@World_Wide_Wob) January 29, 2018
But we aren’t finished yet…not to be outdone…Embiid went to Instagram immediately following the game and posted a picture of his posterizing slam over Westbrook with the location of “Crime Scene Investigation”. I have to hand it to him, that’s pretty clever. Could this rivalry end up being one of the best superstar beefs of our generation? We have to get these guys in the same conference.