The Grizzlies summer league in Orlando was by and large a positive one for the team and for Griz fans. The summer league Grizzlies, under assistant coach Shawn Respert, played as cohesively as a team can with very little time or practice together. They finished 3-2, losing in the championship game.
Your friends at GBB realize that not everyone has the time or desire to slog through 5 games of borderline NBA players playing largely disorganized basketball, so I have put together my impressions of the Grizzlies’ summer league players. Please note that I did not include analysis on players who either did not play at all (Neils Giffey, Edwin Ubiles) or barely played (Justin Cobbs).
|Jordan Adams, SG||5||25.8||41.1%||38.9%||95.5%||14.8||3.4||2.4||2.2||0.4||2.2|
Adams, the Grizzlies' first round draft choice, had a successful summer league. One big item is that he showed a smoother shooting stroke than many thought he'd have. How often he hit from 3 was up and down, but the stroke seems to be there. His best and most prominent skill is getting to the line and making free throws. This was a big part of his game in college and will likely be his most consistent ability in the NBA. The kid is a scorer.
Adams' athleticism will always be a limitation, but he already, at a few days over 20, has a great understanding of angles, positioning, and how to get himself and teammates good looks. Defensively, he's a decent on-ball defender with great hands who likes to gamble. He didn't really get blown by a lot defensively, but he was beaten by superior athleticism a few times.
Adams in the summer league seemed true to his scouting report - a streaky shooter with limited athleticism who gets to the line and really understands the game. Announcers several times talked about him as 10-15 year NBA starter. That remains to be seen, but he seems to have the talent to develop into that.
|Jack Cooley, PF||4||22.5||57.7%||60.0%||54.5%||9.8||4.8||0.0||0.5||0.3||2.0|
Cactus Jack was the lone bright spot on last year's disappointing summer league team and was solid again this year. He hustles and works hard but is undersized, unathletic and doesn't have a particular NBA-ready skill. He's tough, tenacious and still just 23 so I wouldn't put it past him to make the NBA someday, but the skill set is not there right now.
|Jarrid Famous, PF/C||5||11.0||47.4%||0.0%||100.0%||4.4||2.8||0.2||0.0||0.2||0.8|
Famous showed flashes of being a serviceable big man, but that's always been the book on him - flashes of potential mixed in with a fair amount of mediocre play. It's not that he doesn't work hard, it just never seems to come together for him. He's a few days short of 26 and while he might end up with the D league Iowa Energy, time is running short for the big man to figure out his game. Famous seems likely to end up back overseas for the best contract he can find.
|Jamaal Franklin, SG||5||24.2||29.2%||25.0%||75.0%||10.2||3.8||1.4||1.4||0.4||1.4|
The Grindson had a rough summer league. Outside of a strong showing against Houston's SL team (17 points, 6 rebounds, 56% shooting), Jamaal showed little. He did have 5 steals in the first game, but that was largely the result of gambling and some good bounces. In the Houston game, he played excellent on-ball defense for the majority of the game, harassing his man and causing several turnovers.
Offensively, his jumper was really off, there was no consistent flow or awareness to his game, and he didn't look like an NBA contributor. Defensively, he showed stretches of earning the Grindson moniker but not consistently. Franklin's future seems cloudier now than before. He played well in the D league last year, so he may spend some time there again in '14-'15.
|Joe Jackson, PG||4||13.3||46.2%||0.0%||90.9%||5.5||1.8||0.5||0.8||0.0||1.3|
The young man with the "King of Memphis" tattoo showed flashes of being able to use his quickness to get to the rim and be a pest on defense, but didn't look like a player who's close to contributing in the NBA. He's a small score-first guard without elite scoring ability or real ability to create for others. I want all the best for Joe, and right now I think his best course of action is to find a good contract overseas.
|Kalin Lucas, PG||4||15.5||48.0%||33.3%||87.5%||8.3||2.5||1.8||0.5||0.0||1.3|
Lucas is a little like Jackson in that he's a small guy who can really score. At 25, Kalin has a few years' experience in the D League and elsewhere, and it shows. He can create buckets for himself with ease but isn't a real distributor. The ball stopped an awful lot with Lucas at point. He doesn't offer much defensively, so you'd have to be sold that his scoring ability alone would help you win games. I'm not, and I would be surprised if the Grizzlies are. Seems like D league or overseas for Kalin.
|Jarnell Stokes, PF||5||26.6||44.9%||0.0%||81.0%||12.2||9.4||1.0||0.8||0.4||1.8|
Another product of Hoop City, Grizzlies second round pick Jarnell Stokes was true to his scouting report - big, strong, physical and an excellent rebounder, finishing 2nd in Orlando in rebounds per game. His rebounding ability and capacity to make free throws will earn him minutes right away. His offensive game is limited - he has a hook shot and an inconsistent jumper, but that's about it. Most of his points were of the garbage variety - putbacks, cuts to the rim, etc. He did have one eye-opening one-handed reverse dunk of the day that showed more athleticism than many thought he possessed.
Defensively, Stokes is a solid if unspectacular post defender - he holds his ground and moves his feet to stay between his man and the bucket. He doesn't have the quick leaping ability to ever be a shot blocker but gets his hands up and contests around the bucket, and seems to have the awareness to know when he's beaten and not foul for the and-one. One glaring deficiency though, is the pick and roll and rotations. Several times I watched Jarnell roll off a pick the wrong way, or get hung up on a pick, or not switch when he should, or not rotate out to cover a stretch 4. That area of his game needs a lot of improvement.
Although our Joe Mullinax has taken to calling him J-Bo and there are similarities to Z-Bo's game, Stokes is not as polished in the post as I had hoped. I hope that in the coming years he can develop that under Zach's tutelage. Stories are already coming out about Stokes spending long hours at the Grizzlies' practice facility so work ethic will not be a concern with this young man. If he can improve his defensive rotations and develop that post game, he could be a double-double starter in a few years. For now, he should have a niche as a warrior on the boards who will get you hustle points but will likely struggle to defend stretch 4's.
|Deon Thompson, PF||5||19.0||41.7%||0.0%||42.9%||6.6||3.8||1.2||0.0||0.0||0.6|
I have to say, Deon Thompson got a lot more minutes than I really understand. He has a decent mid-range game but has to be set and wide open for the shot to consistently go in. His defense was not good at all, his rebounding was average, he couldn't make free throws, he's unathletic, and he managed to embarrassingly flub an open dunk in the championship game. He did score 15 points on 7-10 shooting in the championship game, but I just don't see the makings of an NBA player here. He will be 26 in a couple of months and is another candidate to return to an overseas contract.
|Janis Timma, SF||2||9.0||0.0%||0.0%||0.0%||0.0||2.0||0.5||0.5||0.0||2.0|
Oh, Janis. You know you've had a bad summer league when:
- You have more turnovers than points
- Your 1 assist is the highlight of your run
- You get DNP-CD'd 3 straight games. In the summer league.
- You go 0-for-the-the-summer-league
|Okaro White, SF||5||16.0||36.0%||25.0%||84.0%||8.2||2.6||0.8||0.6||0.2||1.4|
|Terrico White, SG||4||13.5||54.5%||33.3%||0.0%||3.5||1.3||0.8||0.3||0.3||0.3|
|Scottie Wilbekin, PG||5||19.8||30.0%||14.3%||80.0%||3.4||1.2||4.8||2.2||0.2||1.0|