Who: Memphis Grizzlies vs. Orlando Magic
Where: Amway Center in Orlando, FL
When: 6:00 PM CT
How to Listen: 92.9 FM ESPN Memphis
How to Watch: ??? This is the last time I'll have to give you that answer.
The Memphis Grizzlies are on the verge of a perfect preseason record, something they've only done once before in 2010. It's just like cotton candy. It tastes sweet and exciting at first, and then it immediately turns into nothing.
Exhibitive existentialism aside, win or lose, the Grizzlies have a few issues that might be clarified tonight. Here's what we're going to pay particular attention to:
1) How does Beno Udrih look/Does Russ Smith play significant minutes?
Even though the answers to these questions won't definitively tell us what the Grizzlies will do, they'll show us some of the writing on the wall. Beno has made (3) III three shots in the Grizzlies' 2015 preseason and re-injured the ankle on which he had surgery over the summer. That's not the recipe for someone spelling Mike Conley significant minutes. Russ Smith has a ton of upside, but his inexperience presents problems for a team that needs high quality play in a rough first couple of months to start the season.
Unless Beno looks fantastic, I think the Grizzlies should make an early move for a veteran point guard. And that would probably mean the exodus of someone who is beloved to some degree. Feel free to drop your trade theories in the comments.
2) Does Jeff Green continue to start? If so does he start both halves?
It hasn't been good, Uncle Jeff. Fans who were already down on you have had very little reason to perk up over the past few weeks, but Dave Joerger's patience might extend far beyond that of mortal men.
I know that starting gets downplayed by coaches, but it can really set the tone for a game in some circumstances. And I've rarely ever seen Jeff Green starting for the Grizzlies set an energetic, positive tone.
What I hope happens is that Dave Joerger switches up his starting wings based on ... anything, really: matchups, health, chemistry, aesthetics, his favorite numbers... whatever. I hope this just so that we don't have to talk about Jeff Green starting for
seven two months.
3) Does Dave Joerger consummate his Ryan Hollins man-crush?
Ryan Hollins has played more preseason minutes than any of the other backup bigs.
How did this happen?? I'll tell you how. Dave Joerger hasn't weened himself off of Kosta Koufos just yet. I know they need to get a look at someone who hasn't been around as long as the younger guys, but there's also nine years of film that will tell you exactly what RH is.
But honestly, Hollins hasn't looked half bad in his 72 minutes. If he ends up with a roster spot for the Grizzlies the thing that bothers me the most is that he just makes the team that much older. Jarnell Stokes would probably be the odd man out. Jordan Adams is buried underneath 800 lbs of wing-flesh. The Grizzlies will still be on track to develop zero draft picks since 2008.
4) Can Matt Barnes improve on his 2/18 shooting from three in the preseason?
The answer is yes even if it doesn't happen tonight. It's yes because of past data, and it's yes because if another player comes here and unlearns how to make shots I will lose my mind.
Rather than shooting percentages I'd just like to see Barnes continue to blend in and get a feel for his teammates tendencies.
5) True or False: Zach Randolph aged 1 year from 2011 to 2012 and then stopped aging.
I don't know the answer to this one. Zach has looked pretty good in his limited playing time this preseason. Still waiting on that decline.