WHO: Memphis Grizzlies vs. Orlando Magic
WHEN: 7:00 PM CT
WHERE: FedExForum in Memphis, Tennessee
HOW TO WATCH/LISTEN: TV Information Not Available-92.9 FM ESPN Memphis
The Memphis Grizzlies are back in action in Memphis for the first time since April tonight as they welcome the Orlando Magic to FedExForum. Memphis played in a scrimmage on Saturday night, and some of the reports from that open practice were interesting to say the least. These Grizzlies may well look different than they ever have this season, and we will get our first sort of glimpse into that tonight.
No offense to the Magic, but in the preseason the opponent is meaningless. Here are some things to watch tonight from the Grizzlies.
The Development of Marc Gasol
Two things to look for here - first, how much (if at all) he actually plays. He played in the scrimmage Saturday night, and the Grizzlies have already made it clear that they plan on being patient with bringing him along. There are reasons to be optimistic, however...
Also got to be the fastest Marc has made it up the floor in two years.— Chase Lucas (@deepfriedcouch) October 2, 2016
Yes please. A Marc Gasol not as negatively impacted as much as originally thought by the injured foot would be glorious and quite helpful.
As would this.
Fizdale told Gasol early in camp he wanted Marc shooting at least four 3s a game this season: "I told him to shoot 4 and he did."— Michael Wallace (@MyMikeCheck) October 2, 2016
Again, yes please. How Gasol’s game/role evolves under David Fizdale bears watching not just tonight, but throughout October and November as the regular season gets underway.
The Backup Point Guard Dilemma
Mike Conley cannot play all 48 minutes. Who will fill the void?
To be determined, hopefully starting tonight. Let’s look at the candidates (no, not Tony Allen). First, Wade Baldwin:
Wade Baldwin still hasn't made a jumper since he was at Vanderbilt but I continue to see a lot to like. Would take him over Wroten right now— Chris Herrington (@HerringtonNBA) October 2, 2016
Not what you were hoping to see from your 17th overall pick in the 2016 draft, but Baldwin does show flashes. Hopefully they are there more consistently tonight.
Next up...Andrew Harrison?
@SainAsylum Chris Crawford looked better than andrew harrison— Kyle Whittington (@kwhitt91) October 2, 2016
Harrison has looked lost for much of his time as a Grizzly. Granted, that was just Summer League this past summer and the past week, but still...people thinking a guy who has little to no shot making the roster looks better than a perceived almost-guarantee? Not a good look. We need to see more from Harrison, and tonight would be a good start.
And in the wings? Tony Wroten is the most experienced of the three but someone with his own flaws. If Wroten could protect the ball over the span of 48 minutes and develop a consistent jumper, perhaps he could be a surprise selection for the final 15-man roster. He must show that capacity tonight, however.
Who Plays, Who Stays (On the Bench)
Tony Allen and Brandan Wright did not play in the scrimmage Saturday night. Of course, others such as Chandler Parsons and Deyonta Davis didn’t either, but they were limited participants in practice anyway, so their involvement in games is days, or even weeks, away. Who Coach David Fizdale decides to sit and rest or trot out and play will be interesting to see.
It will also be important to see early minute distribution, especially among those trying to make the team and bench front court players. There are varying levels of competition on the roster this preseason, and hopefully the Grizzlies take advantage and look as crisp as possible with a new head coach from the jump.
Winning and losing isn’t what matters in preseason. Minutes, health, and execution of scheme are what to look for, especially in a first preseason game. Do those things, and regardless of the scoreboard, tonight will be a good night in Memphis.