Observations from Las Vegas Summer League: Game 1: Grizzlies vs. Bulls

USA TODAY Sports

In the Grizzlies first game of the Las Vegas Summer League, they came up short against the Bulls, 81-67. Let's break down what happened.

It was not fun to watch the Grizzlies lose to the Bulls on Saturday night in their first game of summer league. It is never fun to watch the Grizzlies lose. However, these games are about player development, not results. It's one of the few places where the Grizzlies young players can show the front office what they are capable of in a game situation. With that said, summer league performances should be taken with a grain of salt. Just revisit Josh Selby's summer league performances if you need proof. As if that's not enough, check out this interesting tweet by DraftExpress meant to discourage people from overreacting, one way or the other, about a summer league performance.

The most disappointing thing about tonight's game was multiple talented, young Grizzlies sidelined due to injury. Jamaal Franklin missed the action due to an ankle injury, and Jon Leuer sat out with a sprained ankle. Hopefully those two will be ready to go at some point during summer league so we can see what the Grizzlies might have in them.

Below are the rest of my game notes:

  • Starting 5: Tony Wroten, Donte Green, Jannis Timma, Willie Reed, Jack Cooley
  • Cooley will at least get invited to a camp. He hustles too much to not be rewarded.
  • Cooley has the tenacity of Tony Allen in a big man's body.
  • Donte Green is killing his future with the Griz. Awful defense; often caught ball-watching
  • Wroten's length will be a real problem in the league once he gets consistent court time. He was able to get three steals tonight using his long arms to either swipe for the ball or disrupt passing lanes.
  • Timma with the nicest play of the game of for the Grizzlies with eurostep finish in transition.
  • Timma looks like a natural in transition. Although he won't be with the Grizzlies in 2013-14, he fits with what the front office wants to do, which is become a team that can get out and run.
  • Wroten same old, same old. Nothing new. He was explosive, inconsistent, took my breath away at times, and made me shake my head too often at his decision-making.
  • In an interview, Hollinger made it clear that the front office hates Wroten's decision-making, and rightfully so. Wroten had four assists as well as four turnovers. His ratio needs to be much higher. Side note: check out this tweet about Wroten's game. So accurate.

  • Wroten's most valuable skill is his ability to drive to the basket, score in traffic, and draw fouls frequently while doing so. While he is able to draw 10-12 fouls a game, it doesn't matter if he keeps shooting free throws how he does. He was 9-14 from the line tonight, which will just add to the Grizzlies narrative of poor free throw shooting if he enters into the rotation.
  • Vander Blue is a nice slasher, but he is too much like Tony Wroten with less skill and defensive prowess to find a home on the Grizzlies roster. His two buckets were impressive, but his 10 misses were pretty bad.
  • Laurence Bowers, a Memphis favorite, didn't impress. He finished with 5 points on 2-6 from the field and 1-4 from beyond the arc. He has a sweet stroke but he's inconsistent. He buried one three and the very next one he took, he airballed.
  • Other than his ability in transition, Timma was unimpressive in his first Grizzlies action. He went 1-5 from beyond the arc, which isn't good considering his three-point stroke has been touted. He definitely needs a couple more years in Europe to develop. Also, he tries hard on defense, but that made not be enough to help him play passable defense in the NBA. He got abused at times tonight.
  • Awkwardly enough, Lionel Hollins was at tonight's game. (probably just to give Tony Wroten a look of haughty derision) That's just weird.
  • Most impressive player from either team was Andrew Goudelock. He scored 26 points and went 9-15 from the field. His scoring ability has never been in doubt.
  • A guy the Grizzlies worked out leading up to the draft, Tony Snell, had a quiet game. He had just 7 points and went just 3-9 from the field.
  • Marquis Teague made the Grizzlies defense look silly at times. He was putting on a dribbling and passing clinic. He will be a solid backup point guard for a decade-plus.

If you want the full box score, click here. That's all from Game 1. We'll do this again after Game 2 against the Cavaliers on Sunday.

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