WHEN: 7:00 PM CT
WHERE: FedExForum, Memphis, TN
HOW TO WATCH/LISTEN: Fox Sports Southeast/92.9 FM ESPN Memphis
MEMPHIS: None (as of this posting)
SACRAMENTO: Bogdan Bogdanovic (ankle, out), Caleb Swanigan (ankle, out)
PROJECTED STARTING LINEUPS:
MEMPHIS: Ja Morant, Dillon Brooks, Jae Crowder, Jaren Jackson Jr., Jonas Valanciunas
SACRAMENTO: De’Aaron Fox, Buddy Hield, Harrison Barnes, Marvin Bagley III, Richaun Holmes
Saturday night’s matchup on Beale Street does not feature teams of the present, but rather two teams with young talent poised for the feature. They have a number of things in common.
Both the Memphis Grizzlies and the Sacramento Kings are on two game losing streaks, coming off a loss on Friday night to Eastern Conference teams. Both squads have a young, uber-athletic point guard for the franchise to build around, as well as a stud front court player to pair with him.
The Ja Morant—Jaren Jackson Jr. tandem theoretically tilts the scale in the favor of the Grizzlies compared to the long term upside of De’Aaron Fox and Marvin Bagley III.
The make up these two starting lineups are very similar, which should lead to no surprise, a similar record: speedy point guards, bucket getting two guards, veteran small forward, franchise power forward, rebounding centers. This matchup should be as even as it gets this season for the Grizzlies.
PTS/G: 104.7 (25th of 30) Opp PTS/G: 107.0 (9th of 30)
SRS: -2.58 (19th of 30) Pace: 96.8 (30th of 30)
PTS/G: 110.2 (16th of 30) Opp PTS/G: 116.0 (26th of 30)
SRS: -4.80 (24th of 30) Pace: 103.6 (4th of 30)
Numbers always tell a story. These numbers are no different. The Kings struggle to score, but are a top 10 team defensively. The scoring may have been effected by the long term absences of both Fox and Bagley, but since their return, the offense has remained the same.
The Kings are dead last in the league in pace while Memphis is fourth, meaning there will be a clash of styles. It seems odd that a team featuring Fox, one of the fastest players in the league, would be last in pace.
If Memphis can get out and run, pushing the pace against a team that clearly wants to slow it down, it should be good night for the Grizz and a fun one for the fans in the Forum.
Battle of the Backcourts
De’Aaron Fox and Buddy Hield combine for 40 of the teams 104 points per game, while Ja Morant and Dillon Brooks combine for 33.3 of Memphis’ 110 points per game. Memphis will have to force the ball into the hands of other players and not allow these two players to get going.
The Grizzlies are now 2-14 when a front court player leads the team in scoring. While Jaren Jackson Jr. is the team’s second leading scorer on the season (17 ppg), so far the team’s success relies upon the play of Morant and Brooks. They will be tasked with slowing down their counterparts while pacing the team offensively.
The Grizzlies are currently a 1.5 point underdog on their home floor. This would be a game to lay money on Memphis to cover. Memphis will be at home on the second night of a back to back while the Kings will be on their second game on the road on a back to back.
Grizzlies 115 Kings 109