WHEN: 7:00 PM CT
WHERE: FedExForum in Memphis, Tennessee
HOW TO WATCH/LISTEN: FOX Sports Southeast/92.9 FM ESPN Memphis
Memphis- Mike Conley (Out, heel), Marc Gasol (Out, rest), JaMychal Green (Out, knee soreness), Andrew Harrison (Out, wrist/shoulder), Jarell Martin (Out, ankle), Chandler Parsons (Out, knee soreness), Wayne Selden (Out, knee soreness), Tyreke Evans (Out, personal)
Sacramento- Skal Labissiere (Questionable, ankle), Harry Giles (Out, knee), Iman Shumpert (Out, foot), Garret Temple (Out, ankle), Zach Randolph (Out, illness)
Projected Starting Lineups:
Memphis- Kobi Simmons, Ben McLemore, Dillon Brooks, Ivan Rabb, Deyonta Davis
Sacramento- De’Aaron Fox, Bogdan Bogdanovic, Justin Jackson, Vince Carter, Willie Cauley-Stein
Only four games remaining and this nightmare of a season will be over.
Usually in lost seasons the games at the end are considered meaningless. In terms of playoff preparation, sure, tonight’s game is meaningless. However, with how competitively bad all the teams at the bottom of the standings have been, the games between them matter almost as much as matchups between playoff teams. The Grizzlies are 1.5 games back of Phoenix for the best odds at getting the number 1 pick in the NBA draft. Fortunately for Memphis, a loss to the Kings tonight would secure the Grizzlies finish top 3 in the draft lottery, with a guaranteed top 6 pick in the draft. If the Grizzlies lose out, which is very possible, they have a chance at securing the top odds in the lottery if Phoenix can win one of their remaining games (likely only opportunity against Dallas).
The Kings come into town driving a tank of their own, with only 3 games separating them from the Atlanta Hawks who currently are a .5 game behind Memphis in the tankathon.com standings. Usually in game previews we like to preview the game and point out how the Grizzlies can win, but this go round I’m just going to highlight some things to watch in what is sure to be an ugly game tonight.
MarShon Brooks has played in 3 of the 4 Grizzly games since he inked a 10-day contract with the Grizzlies and has scored 20 plus points in each game, averaging 23.3 points per game. The dude can score in bunches, highlighted by his 14 point 4th quarter to come back and defeat the Blazers in his first game with the Grizzlies. Dillon Brooks has also been scoring bucks, averaging 15.3 points a game his last 15 games. Dillon is still inconsistent and a streaky shooter, but he’s been showing real promise of being a solid player for the future Grizzlies.
It’s exciting and enjoyable when these two get going on the offensive end, so that should be fun to watch both now and in the future with MarShon signing a two-year deal with the Grizzlies.
The Young Bigs
It’s no secret that the Grizzlies have a surplus of young big men who may or may not fit into the future of the Grizzlies. Jarell Martin, Ivan Rabb, and Deyonta Davis could all be playing for their roster spot next season as this season comes to its conclusion, especially depending on who the Grizzlies select in the 2018 draft. With JaMychal and Marc locked in key rotation roles (assuming they are back), there aren’t many minutes to go around next season between the 3 previously mentioned players. Jarell Martin was supposedly cut during training camp, then not cut and has since been an interesting player for the Grizzlies this season. Deyonta Davis has had a inconsistent campaign where some games he looks good and others he looks very disinterested. Ivan Rabb tore up the G-League early in the season before riding the Grizzlies bench most of the season. In his limited minutes Rabb has looked good, highlighted by Wednesday nights 16 point, 7 rebound performance.
It’ll be interesting to keep an eye on these 3 players tonight and the rest of the season to see who takes advantage of their minutes to solidify their roster spot next season.
Tonight’s matchup is huge in terms of the tank. A Grizzlies loss clinches a top 3 finish in the tankathon standings and keeps hopes of the top lottery odds alive. Things get riskier if the Grizzlies defeat the Kings. That being said, the players and Coach Bickerstaff don’t care about tanking. They want to go out and play their best every night.
Tonight’s game is really a toss up, considering the circumstances, but I think the Grizzlies will benefit from being at home and will come away with a win against a Kings team they’ve blown out twice already this season.
Grizzlies 108 Kings 104