Mike Conley Jr - Primetime Playmaker (2021 All-Star)
- Published on: 3/5/2021
- Mike Conley Jr. 2021 NBA ALL-STAR. 2013 NBA All-Defensive Second Team. Mike is still easily one of the most successful and least decorated NBA players in the NBA. The Memphis Grizzlies’ all-time leading scorer also holds the all-time record for assists and steals for that franchise. Add to that 3 NBA Sportsmanship Awards and the 2019 NBA Teammate of the Year award and the fact that he has NEVER registered a single technical foul in his career, Conley might just be the king of cool.
This season, Conley has arguably been the best player on the team with the best record in the league. Per Cleaning the Glass, he’s posting a career best effective field goal percentage (56.3%) while scintillating from behind the arc; 43% from 3 and an absurd 42% on above the break threes on 149 attempts. Per Synergy, he’s generating 1.109 points per possession (PPP) on pick and rolls when you include passes - that’s in the 88th percentile in the entire league. He’s also been an exceptional off-ball threat - 1.107 PPP when he spots up and 1.583 PPP as a cutter.
Mike might make people a little uneasy when they see he’s a left handed player (that is which hand he shoots the ball on jump shots anyway) taking those crazy looking right handed floaters, but frankly, his floater is phenomenal. It should be noted that while he does play lefty, he’s a righty outside of basketball, so naturally, the carryover is there. He’s also adept at adapting to contact and adjusting his shots to get around, squeeze by, duck under, or ARC OVER any and every defender. He’s got the poise, power, and proficiency to finish ambidextrously through contact. Conley’s bag of tricks is underrated (a word you’ll hear associated with him often), and the Buckeye’s basketball IQ is through the roof. His jail dribble, jab series, and prime time pump fakes and hesitations are often sequenced together in such a way that there is no way a defender can really be on balance trying to stay in front of him. It’s clear that Conley’s first look is to find his teammates, but as you will be able to see from the front end of this video, he’ll give you buckets.
Oh and while I’m at it - it’s hard to parse out what Mike’s true defensive value is because his minutes closely match Rudy Gobert’s BUT the Utah Jazz allow 9.8 points per 100 possessions when Conley is off the floor - for the sake of insane comparisons, the Milwaukee Bucks allow 11.2 points per 100 possessions when Giannis Antetokounmpo is off the floor and the Los Angeles Lakers allow 9.6 points per 100 possessions when LeBron James is off the floor.
FiveThirtyEight's Overall RAPTOR rating as of March 6th 2021 has Mike Conley is tied for 9th. The Utah Jazz have cooled considerably in the last few weeks but as of February 3rd, he ranked first. ESPN real plus/minus had Conley rank as the NBA's best (+259) - 84 points better than any other player in the league at the end of January.
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