WHO: Memphis Grizzlies (3-1 in preseason) vs. San Antonio Spurs (1-3 in preseason)
WHERE: A&T Center in San Antonio, Texas
WHEN: 7:30 PM CT
HOW TO WATCH/LISTEN: Fox Sports Southeast/92.9 FM ESPN Memphis
MEMPHIS: Jonas Valanciunas (Out, foot soreness), De’Anthony Melton (Out, back)
SAN ANTONIO: Rudy Gay (Questionable), DeMar DeRozan (Questionable)
PROJECTED STARTING LINEUPS:
MEMPHIS: Ja Morant, Dillon Brooks, Jae Crowder, Brandon Clarke, Jaren Jackson Jr.
SAN ANTONIO: DeJounte Murray, Bryn Forbes, Lonnie Walker IV, Trey Lyles, LaMarcus Aldridge
Huge game tonight as two Southwest Division rivals battle it out tonight in San Antonio!! Oh... wait... it’s still the preseason. Luckily, this is the last game until the season starts and the games begin to mean something.
It has definitely been a fun preseason to watch with the Memphis Grizzlies. They have won three out of their four games so far and have competed against some of the world’s best teams. Organizations can get all the training they want throughout training camp, but it really comes down to these live reps to make you a better team.
The Grizzlies need to finish strong and continue this winning mentality tonight and then bring it into the regular season.
The Roster Battle- Making the Cut
It is always hard to get a correct gauge on the consequences of a preseason game. Ultimately, it is meaningless basketball, however, that doesn’t apply to everyone on the court. Tell that to the end-of-the-bench guys who have been fighting their tail off to get to this point. These are the only minutes they will have to show that they should make an NBA roster.
There are the fantastic subplots that begin to take shape throughout these games. For tonight, watch for the players such as Yuta Watanabe, Ivan Rabb, John Konchar, and Jarod Uthoff. These are the guys who may not be rostered a few days from now. The G-League is where most of them belong to develop their game further, but tonight will be the last chance to show what they’ve got against other NBA teams.
The Roster Battle- The 2-Guard
Outside of just the battles to make the roster, the depth chart also needs to sort itself out. Right now, the Grizzlies seem to have about five guys at the 2-guard position. Some will definitely transition into the 3-guard, but ESPN currently has the “shooting guard” depth chart battle between Dillon Brooks, Grayson Allen, Marko Guduric, DeAnthony Melton, and (apparently) Andre Iguodala. Throw in Kyle Anderson and Jae Crowder fighting for minutes in bigger lineups as well, and you have a logjam on your hands.
Statistically, it is hard to take much from the preseason, but that’s all anyone has to this point. Dillon Brooks put up 30 points on Wednesday, Marko Guduric has shown his shot still has time to come around shooting 4-12 in the last two games, and Grayson Allen is playing gritty basketball but not showing up in the box score. All these main guys have stated their claim, except Melton who has been hurt, but only one will start next Wednesday night.
All in all, somehow the minutes will have to be distributed between these players. It will be the preseason which determines who gets first crack at the starting lineup and key minutes down the stretch. No one is quite sure what Coach Taylor Jenkins’ philosophy will be this season, so it will be very interesting what rotations he implements.
It looks like the point guard, power forward, and center are set (for now, I’m praying for that JJJ-Clarke frontcourt), but the 2 and 3 guards can be interchangeable given the night.
Tonight in San Antonio will hopefully give all the fans some interesting subplots to watch with the roster battles going on.
After tonight, it will be time to buckle down and get ready because regular season Grizzlies basketball is back. It will be such an exciting year with one of the best young point guards the league has seen. Along with Brandon Clarke and Jaren Jackson Jr, this team will be high-flying, must watch television.
Make sure you stay tuned to Grizzly Bear Blues all season long for all your Memphis Grizzlies coverage.