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The Hustle Report: Shining before the Showcase

The Hustle go into the G-League showcase as the top seed with a 14-1 record

Memphis Hustle vs Rio Grande Valley Vipers Photo by Christian Inoferio/NBAE via Getty Images

Week 6 Results

Memphis Hustle (13-1) 132 @ Texas Legends 120

Memphis Hustle (14-1) 132 @ Rio Grande Valley Vipers 109

Week 6 Headlines

  • Hustle earn top seed in G-League showcase
  • Josh Jackson returns from suspension

Game 14 Breakdown

Sioux Falls Skyforce v Memphis Hustle Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images

Key Stats

  • Jarrod Uthoff- 26 points, 11 rebounds, 7 assists, 2 steals
  • Ahmad Caver- 23 points, 4 rebounds, 2 steals
  • John Konchar- 19 points, 10 rebounds, 2 assists
  • Josh Jackson- 19 points, 9 rebounds, 8 assists
  • Matt Mooney- 12 points, 7 assists

The Hustle clinched the season series over the Texas Legends with a convincing win over the weekend. After trailing by as many as 15 in the first quarter, the Hustle came roaring back in the second quarter, outscoring the Legends 41-23 before running away with the game. The Hustle couldn’t quite put the Legends away, never pushing their lead higher than 13 but they kept just enough distance where the game was never really in doubt in the second half. Both Uthoff and Jackson flirted with triple doubles, while the team continued to be great defensively, forcing 17 turnovers on the night.

Game 15 Breakdown

Memphis Hustle vs. Texas Legends Photo by Timothy M Heitman/NBAE via Getty Images

Key Stats

  • Dusty Hannahs- 31 points, 3 assists
  • Yuta Watanabe- 24 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals
  • Jarrod Uthoff- 21 points, 9 rebounds, 4 assists
  • Josh Jackson- 15 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists
  • Matt Mooney- 14 points, 6 assists
  • John Konchar- 11 points, 8 rebounds, 5 assists, 4 steals

The Hustle rolled into the showcase with a dominating matinee game over the Vipers. Dusty Hannahs went off, with the rest of the team following suit. It was an offensive explosion for the Hustle, with 9 players getting in the scoring column. The Hustle turned defense into offense again, forcing 22 turnovers into 32 points. Overall it was a great effort for the Hustle when they could have struggled with an 11 AM tip while looking ahead to the G-League showcase.

Standings Snapshot

Hustle Stats

Memphis Hustle v Texas Legends Photo by Tim Heitman/NBAE via Getty Images

4: Outside of the guys already on NBA contracts (Josh Jackson, John Konchar, Yuta Watanabe) the Hustle have 4 players who have a chance to earn an NBA contract with their performance at the showcase. Dusty Hannahs (21.7 points per game on 47.9% from beyond the arc), Jarrod Uthoff (20 ppg, 9.7 rpg, 1.4 spg), Matt Mooney (12.7 ppg, 4.8 apg) and Marquis Teague (12.2 ppg, 41.9% shooting from beyond the arc) all have a chance to get an NBA contract in the weeks or month following the G-League showcase.

3.8: Arguably the lone negative of Josh Jackson's stint with the Hustle, outside of the suspension, is how foul happy he has been. Jackson currently leads the Hustle averaging 3.8 fouls per game and has found himself in at least a little bit of foul trouble late in games over the past couple of weeks. Sometimes Josh gets an unfortunate whistle, but the calls have been fair for the most part. Jackson will need to calm down on the fouling prior to his eventual call-up to the Grizzlies.

MVP of the Week - Jarrod Uthoff

Memphis Hustle v Texas Legends Photo by Tim Heitman/NBAE via Getty Images

Jarrod Uthoff, after weeks of being an unspoken second place in the MVP of the Week rankings, finally earns his first MVP of the Week honor of the season. Uthoff averaged 23.5 points, 10 rebounds, and 5.5 assists on the week showing off his scoring and passing skills. Uthoff also picked up 3 steals in two games, showing off his ability to poke the ball away. Uthoff has been the Hustle’s best and most consistent player behind Josh Jackson this season, and with Jackson easing his way back after suspension it was good to see Uthoff take over.

Week 6 Grade - A

Memphis Hustle vs Rio Grande Valley Vipers Photo by Christian Inoferio/NBAE via Getty Images

An impressive 2-0 week going into the showcase earns the Hustle another A as they’ve continued their dominance. The Hustle have continued to play like a team whereas other teams have guys forcing things and playing selfish with the upcoming showcase. Jason March deserves a lot of credit for getting all of his guys locked in to work together, and it will most likely help these players get an NBA opportunity this season.

Week 7 Preview

Memphis Hustle vs Rio Grande Valley Vipers Photo by Christian Inoferio/NBAE via Getty Images

Grand Rapids Drive (9-8) @ Memphis Hustle 12/20 9:30 PM CT

Wisconsin Herd (13-2) OR Salt Lake City Stars (11-2) @ Memphis Hustle 12/22 6 or 8 PM CT

Both games will be inside the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Game 16 Preview: After earning the top seed for the G-League showcase, the Hustle will face off against the 4-seed Grand Rapids Drive in the first round of the Championship Bracket. The Drive are led by former Tennessee Vol Jordan Bone, with help from Pistons assignee Sekou Doumbouya and two-way player Louis King. The Drive don’t have much scoring prowess outside of those 3 and Donta Hall, however, as they rank 27th in the league in points per game. If the Hustle can keep the game fast paced, they should be able to outscore the Drive and move on to the championship game.

Game 17 Preview: Depending on the outcome of the game against the Drive, the Hustle will face off against either the Wisconsin Herd or the Salt Lake City Stars. If the Hustle defeat the Drive, they’ll face off the winner of the Herd/Stars matchup in the championship game at 6 PM CT on ESPN2. If the Hustle lose, they’ll face off against the loser in the 3rd place game at 8 PM CT.

If the Hustle face off against the 2nd seed Wisconsin Herd, they’ll have their hands full with former Tiger commit Rayjon Tucker (21.8 ppg) pacing a high-scoring Herd offense. Depending on the assignee’s, the Herd may also have Frank Mason on the active roster to help bolster the Herd’s dynamic backcourt. If the Hustle can slow down Tucker and Jaylen Adams, they should be able to come away victorious over a Herd team that has shaky scoring depth.

Things will also be difficult if the Hustle have to face off against the Salt Lake City Stars. The Stars have 5 players who average double-digits in points per game, but none average over 19 per game. If the Stars have all 5 available, they’ll be a tough out but with Justin Wright-Foreman and Jarrell Brantley on two-way contracts and Juwan Morgan on assignment, the Stars may give more of an opportunity to William Howard or Trevon Bluiett to earn an NBA opportunity.

It will be interesting to see how the teams handle the showcase. The Hustle could hold back guys like Watanabe, Konchar and Josh Jackson since they are all on NBA contracts already or they could go all in on the tournament and try and earn the prize money of $100,000. With a chance at $100,000, I’d suspect all four teams go all in on trying to win the tournament.

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