The Memphis Grizzlies are rolling into this matchup with the Brooklyn Nets looking to snap a three-game losing streak. Over the course of this cold spell, the Grizzlies have had chances to secure wins in each of these games. They held a 4th quarter lead against the Clippers, before they came back and sent the game into overtime. They also blew double-digit leads against the Knicks and the Raptors at home earlier this week. Hopefully, they can overcome those 3rd quarter blues to snap this losing streak.
I caught up with Anthony Puccio from SB Nation’s Nets Daily to prep for tonight’s matchup.
How excited are you that the Nets finally own their own first-round pick?
I’m more relieved that they won’t be on the tail end of a redundant joke come the night of the NBA Draft. Seriously though, it’s been a brutal run and I’m glad it’s over, but it’s also bittersweet. The reason why it stung so much is because they have been so bad. This year? Nobody knows. They’re right in the middle of the pack and might fall into a state of limbo with the ninth or 10th seed in the East. They’ll need to pick a direction before I get overly excited about the pick.
Both D’Angelo Russell and Spencer Dinwiddie are free agents next summer. Who would you rather keep?
This is so tough to answer, and I don’t think I really have a preference. D’Angelo Russell is still only 22-years-old. He has great court vision and has shown that he can make a 20-point night look easy. He’s that second overall pick with swagger that a star possesses --somebody the people either love to love or haters love to hate. It’s a weird dynamic, but fun to watch.
With that being said, Russell will be eligible to make a lot more money than Spencer Dinwiddie and that’s something that might frighten the Nets who want as much cap space entering summer of 2019. Dinwiddie is your typical 14 & 6 steady point guard who rarely turns the ball over. He possesses high basketball IQ and you appreciate his journey, appreciate having a guy who plays the way he does. He had to work for everything he has today being a second-round pick and working his way out of the G League twice. He embodies what the new Brooklyn Nets are all about. It’s almost like the two are opposites in a weird but good way, which makes this all that much harder to answer.
… My answer: Whoever takes the bigger discount.
Who has really stepped up in Caris Levert’s absence?
D’Angelo Russell. He’s averaging 20 points and six assists and fell just short of setting a new career-high with 38 points against the 76ers. Spencer Dinwiddie is right there with him, averaging 20 points and seven assists on less shot attempts and better three-point shooting.
Sean Marks has done an excellent job building a feature, despite Billy King’s all-time blunder. Which young pieces are worth keeping and building around?
Basically all the guys that Sean Marks drafted when he took over and then some. Players like Caris LeVert and Jarrett Allen look like blue chips. Spencer Dinwiddie and Joe Harris epitomize the “work-first” identity they’ve built. Then you have the two newest draft picks, Dzanan Musa and Rodions Kurucs, who we’ve seen very little of. I’d also like to be on record saying that I want Ed Davis to be a Brooklyn Net for a long time. He isn’t a “young” piece but he’s perfect here.
What matchup are you looking forward to the most in this game?
I’m going with Jarrett Allen and Marc Gasol.
Thanks again to Anthony Puccio and the crew at NetsDaily!