The Memphis Grizzlies completed their initial Summer League slate today against the Milwaukee Bucks as they beat the Bucks 85-81. The Summer Grizzlies as a whole played much better today than they did on Saturday against the Denver Nuggets, and that improvement is a positive sign of growth and potential development through adjustment by new Head Coach David Fizdale.
It wasn't all sunshine and rainbows, of course. Memphis had issues shooting with key players, such as Andrew Harrison. He started the game 1-9 overall from the floor, but then made an and-one three pointer near the end of the third quarter, so that was good...but it was the last shot he would make. He finished the game 2-14. Milwaukee was also able to take advantage of the Grizzlies' turnovers while players made rookie/young player mistakes defensively (Wade Baldwin IV and others), getting lost on rotations and allowing Milwaukee wide open attempts at times.
You could see positives as well, such as Vince Hunter scoring the ball well from the field (but not so well from the charity stripe), Wade Baldwin's ability to create in transition and defend multiple positions (and dunk pretty impressively), as well as D.J. Stephens' continued awesome displays of athleticism on a block at the end of the first half as well as multiple alley-oop dunks such as this one.
A major development of this Summer League has been the play of Stephens. 21 points on 9-13 shooting, including two made three-point shots, with seven rebounds, aggressive drives at the rim, and impressive defensive skills being flashed consistently makes for a hell of a performance, and it was a continuation of what he has shown previously for the Grizzlies. He missed two free throws late, but overall a he had a great game as a continuation of a great Summer League so far for the former Memphis Tiger.
Memphis has to consider him as a potential addition to the roster, and at the very least should invite him to training camp this fall. His explosiveness and ability to both defend and convert from three-point land makes him a player to watch not just as Summer League carries on, but moving forward.
The Memphis Grizzlies, now 2-1 in Summer League play, will continue to compete in Las Vegas as they enter the Summer League tournament, which starts on Wednesday. Stay with GBB as the NBA Summer League grinds forth.