In Game 1 of the 2012 Las Vegas Summer League the Memphis Grizzlies looked... pretty good. I'd hate to say they looked "really good," if only because they were playing a New York Knicks team that is, to be honest, one of the weaker SL squads. But, a win is a win and there were certainly some highly promising moments in their 93-77 victory over the Knickerbockers.
First, they got out to an early lead and never let the Knicks get closer than 5 points -- despite blowing a 25-point lead. I know that most of you watching this game were thinking, "Uh-oh, the Knicks are making a 4th quarter run; typical Grizzlies, blowing a late lead..." But, the Grizzlies were eventually able to close it out.
Here are my early, initial thoughts:
- Great job by the Grizzlies defending the passing lanes. They forced 17 Knicks turnovers on 8 steals. #Typical
- Their 3-point shooting was fantastic. The Grizzlies went 10-of-17 from beyond the arc, which would have been a dream scenario for last year's team. And 10 threes isn't even all that much -- it's the efficiency that matters.
- The free-throw shooting was *good.* They hit 21-of-29 attempts from the line, but I think the key is that they got to the line 29 times. You saw some nice aggressive cuts and saw guys like Tony Wroten (7-of-8 FTs) and even Matt Janning attack the rim.
- Josh Selby shot the lights out, scoring 20 points on 7-of-11 shooting from the floor and 5-of-7 shooting from the 3-point line. If I have one complaint it's that he had just one assist in 25 minutes. Combo guard, anyone?
- Tony Wroten was equally as fantastic. His final line: 19 points on 5-of-9 shooting, 2-of-3 from 3-point line, 7-of-8 from the FT line, 8 rebounds, 6 assists, 2 steals and 4 turnovers. Turnovers aside, he played a near perfect game. Wroten certainly can grow into a nice fit as a combo-point guard. Someone who is probably better suited as a '2' but who you can live with as a point guard. He also proved that his jumper and FT shot are not broken -- don't expect him to shoot at this high a rate all the time, but if he can find some consistency, he might be able to debunk said myth about him.
- Matt Janning looked impressive, hitting 4-of-6 shots (2-3 from 3-point line) and scoring 13 points in 29 minutes. He has decent size, a nice stroke, but I just don't think he'll stick with the Grizzlies. Still, nice showing. It'll be interesting to see how he develops over this week and if he might stick somewhere.
- As for the rest of the team, aside from Jeremy Pargo, there wasn't much else going on. Courtney Sims had moments, while Deon Thompson made some nice low-post moves. But really no one who should any signs of joining the Wroten-Pargo-Selby triumvirate.
- Interesting that we didn't see Josh Magette in this one. I'll have to check, but he wasn't even on the bench, if I recall. Or at least they didn't make any mention of him, nor did I see him.
- Overall: This team looked good, but, as I said earlier, the Knicks are one of the more underwhelming Summer League teams. They have just one player who is likely to make the final roster -- James White -- which says something, right? Still, the Grizzlies looked good.