It was the preseason finale Friday night in the Forum as the Grizzlies lost to the Houston Rockets 121-103. This was our last chance to see the roster before the regular season on Wednesday. It gets real soon.
Last night, as was expected, the bench was completely emptied out giving opportunities to everyone on the roster. No one played more than 30 minutes and 17 guys saw the floor in some capacity. The starting roster was an interesting lineup going with a taller crew around Conley. Bickerstaff may be experimenting with these lineups for the regular season.
Unfortunately, it came in a losing effort. For whatever reason, Harden and Paul both played over 30 minutes, and Harden had 23 points while Paul contributed with 14. It was nice to see the preseason end as we finally can buckle up and get ready for meaningful basketball. NBA action starts in only four days!!
Now, to team grades.
Mike Conley- B+
Conley played 29 minutes and scored 15 points and had 6 assists. He looks ready for the season to begin. This preseason was a good warmup of competitive basketball to get the tread on the tires once again. In this game, he got back in his rhythm offensively creating opportunities for the rest of the team.
Kyle Anderson- F
Kyle Anderson hasn’t showed me much at all this preseason. It could be a huge red flag going into the season, but as I always say, you cannot take too much from preseason. Anderson played 28 minutes and somehow only shot 0-2 with four points total. He has never been known as a score first player on offense, but this game is nowhere close to where he needs to be in the regular season. He needs to prove that preseason basketball really does not mean much.
Chandler Parsons- C+
Any time Chandler Parsons is on the court, it is a good thing. He played 27 minutes tonight scoring 12 points on 5-9 shooting. He hit two 3s and showed that he could at least contribute in double figures. This is all that needs to be expected of Parsons. Expectations destroyed his tenure in Memphis, and now all the team can ask is bench production around 22-27 minutes a game scoring 8-12 points a night. That would be a Chandler Parsons success story this season in my opinion.
Jaren Jackson Jr.- B
Among the strangest stat lines of the night, Jaren Jackson led the Grizzlies in scoring with 18 points in 21 minutes. Very promising night for Jaren Jackson on the court offensively on 7 of 9 shooting. However, somehow, he did not record a single rebound in all the minutes on the court. The Rockets outrebounded the Grizzlies all night and ended up with 16 offensive rebounds at the end of the game. That compared to the Grizzlies three offensive rebounds. That is a huge thing that will need to change heading into the season. JJJ will have to learn to get in the paint to bully for rebounds. But, again, just preseason.
Marc Gasol- B-
Gasol had a strange Gasol night in this game. Six points in 27 minutes, but he did have nine rebounds. He shot an abysmal 1-5 from the field and was just off all night long. His inside game stretched JJJ to the outside when they shared the court together, but it is a lineup that will serve the Grizzlies well if they can crash and compete in the rebounds category regardless of stretching the floor. Last night, not so much.
The Bench- B
It was hard to take away too much from this bench unit since it stretched 12 players for this game. Ivan Rabb played well in his minutes on the floor collecting five rebounds. He showed how to stay in the paint and battle for boards compared to how Jackson looked, strictly in rebounding. Other than that, many players played a few minutes, but nothing notable stuck out.
Now, the final round of cuts will be made to whittle down the roster. There should not be too many surprises with who does not make it, and it will be important to remember most of the guys will have opportunities still with the Hustle in the G-League
Welp, that is all from the Grizzlies preseason. Now, get excited for the regular season to begin. The Memphis Grizzlies start the season in Indianapolis Wednesday, October 17th.