The Memphis Grizzlies went out and laid a big fat egg in their preseason finale against their regular season opener opponent, the Minnesota Timberwolves, on Wednesday night, at least to start. They didn’t defend well (Minnesota attempted 41 free throws), they didn’t shoot well (the Grizzlies as a whole shot 39.8% from the field), and they were flat-out dominated by Karl-Anthony Towns (31 points, 9 rebounds on 7-10 shooting and 17-17 from the free throw line in 24 minutes). The Grizzlies were simply outplayed and outclassed, and oh yeah, Marc Gasol played 18 minutes on a bone bruise.
Thankfully, there are positive takeaways from this game. One would be the fact that this game, of course, has no impact on their actual record. That starts a week from tonight...against this same Minnesota team. Hopefully a week of practice and rest will enable Memphis to open the regular season better than they closed the preseason. Also, as the game went on, Memphis heated up from three and showed signs of life with their bench players. Energy and execution came through finally - Wayne Selden hit five three point shots!!! - but unfortunately, a lot of it came from players who won’t be on the roster next week (like Wayne Selden).
Now, attention turns to who exactly will make this Grizzlies team and play for them next Wednesday night. The drama starts at the end of the bench, where Troy Williams and perhaps DJ Stephens figure to be looming large on the minds of the Memphis coaching staff. Did those two players do enough to get the Grizzlies front office to part with one of the 15 guaranteed contracts on the roster, such as Andrew Harrison, Vince Carter, or Jordan Adams?
From there, will Tony Allen, Brandan Wright, and/or Chandler Parsons be ready for the Wolves in Memphis next week? What will the rotation look like once all the pieces are in place? This preseason has left the Grizzlies with a lot of questions to ponder as the regular season finally gets underway on the 26th for Memphis.
One thing is for sure, however - on this night, the preseason Wolves were that much better than the preseason Grizzlies.