WHERE: FedexForum in Memphis, Tennessee
WHEN: 7:00 CT
HOW TO WATCH/LISTEN: Fox Sports Southeast/92.9 FM ESPN
MEMPHIS—Marc Gasol (neck soreness-probable), Dillon Brooks (right foot soreness-probable), JaMychal Green (broken jaw-out), Chandler Parsons (right knee soreness *sighs*—out)
PHOENIX—Devin Booker (strained left hamstring—out)
As bad as it may seem to be, there’s always the next game in the NBA
After a disappointing (if not surprising) road loss to the young Sacramento Kings, the Memphis Grizzlies will look to rebound with a win against another rising team in the Phoenix Suns.
The Suns are coming off a home loss to the LABron Lakers and have played a highly difficult schedule to begin the year. They are looking to establish their candidacy as a fringe playoff contender.
Here are a few things to watch for tonight.
Jackson vs Ayton
Let’s just get right down it. This is the main event.
If the Rookie of the Year award was given after four games, Jaren Jackson Jr. would certainly be a candidate, but Deandre Ayton, the top pick in this year’s NBA draft, would probably win it. He is current averaging 16.2 points, 10.8 rebounds, and 3.8 assists (!!) all the while shooting a ridiculous 63% from the field.
In many ways, it’s almost surreal to be this anxiously excited about a big man in a Grizzlies uniform that is not a Gasol brother. There’s just something riveting about watching the possible rise of a lasting legacy in Memphis (no pressure).
A sizeable chunk of Jaren Jackson Jr.’s legacy, however, may be intertwined with how he will perform against Ayton. They will always be measured against each other for the rest of their respective careers.
Obviously, this is just one game and generally won’t matter much in the grand scheme of things. Yet this is the first time that people will get to see how Jackson measures up against one of the top big men in his class (or second time if you count Bagley).
Memphis has truly never had a prospect like Jackson. And that is something worth celebrating.
Marc Gasol’s Health
Everyone held their breaths for a few minutes three nights ago when Marc Gasol went down against the Kings in the 4th quarter. Many feared that he had broken his collar bone or had a different severe injury that would cause him to miss significant time.
However, it fortunately appears to be just a neck strain, and he will likely play tonight.
A neck injury can affect everything you do on a basketball court, from shooting to defense and to rebounding. It will be interesting to see how he looks like against the more athletic Ayton.
It willb a close, high-scoring game in which Deandre Ayton will look like every bit of the first pick in the draft, especially since he is playing against an injured Marc Gasol. However, Jaren Jackson Jr. will also elevate his game in response. Mike Conley will have a huge night against the defensively-challenged Isaiah Canaan. Phoenix’ lack of Booker will not allow them to have enough firepower in the end.
The Grizzlies will find a way to pull out the win on their homecourt.