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The Hustle Report: A dud of a showcase

The Hustle look overmatched when it matters most at G-League showcase

Memphis Hustle v Grand Rapids Drive Photo by Todd Lussier/NBAE via Getty Images

Week 7 Results

Grand Rapids Drive 104 @ Memphis Hustle 101 (14-2)

Wisconsin Herd 125 @ Memphis Hustle 113 (14-3)

Week 7 Headlines

  • Hustle go 0-2, finish 4th at G-League showcase

Game 16 Breakdown

Memphis Hustle v Grand Rapids Drive Photo by Todd Lussier/NBAE via Getty Images

Key Stats

  • Yuta Watanabe- 26 points, 2 steals, 2 blocks
  • Dusty Hannahs- 24 points
  • Josh Jackson- 15 points, 6 rebounds, 6 steals, 3 blocks
  • Matt Mooney- 10 points, 4 assists
  • John Konchar- 8 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals, 2 blocks

The Hustle opened up the showcase with an up-and-down performance against the Grand Rapids Drive. The Hustle trailed by as many as 16 in the first half, before an explosive 3rd quarter saw them take a 7 point lead before the Rapids took over and won down the stretch. The Hustle got caught playing the Drive’s slow, defensive style of basketball and couldn’t quite get the game where they like to play which is running up and down the court. Yuta and Dusty played well, but couldn’t quite get enough scoring from the rest of the team to move on to the championship game.

Game 17 Breakdown

Texas Legends v Memphis Hustle Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images

Key Stats

  • John Konchar- 33 points, 16 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 steals
  • Dusty Hannahs- 20 points
  • Josh Jackson- 17 points, 12 rebounds, 6 assists, 5 blocks
  • Jarrod Uthoff- 10 points, 11 rebounds

The Hustle followed up their opening round loss with another up and down performance. The Hustle actually led the Herd by 7 going into the 4th quarter, but were outscored 35-16 in the final frame to give the Herd 3rd place in the tournament. For a team that has usually been dominant in the 4th quarter, it was a bit discouraging to see them struggle in the 4th at the showcase. The Herd game was especially painful, as they were without Rayjon Tucker who did not play, most likely due to his signing with the Jazz the following day.

Standings Snapshot

Hustle Stats

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

10: Last week I touched on Josh Jackson's foul problem in the Hustle Report, but the showcase highlighted another key area Jackson needs to work on before getting a potential call up to the Grizzlies. Jackson committed 10 turnovers in just two games at the showcase, committing 5 in each game. That number is just way too high for a guy who is supposed to be above and beyond better than everyone else on the court. Jackson has to learn how to take better care of the ball.

26.2%: The Hustle shot just 17-65 from beyond the arc at the showcase, which is a putrid 26.2%. Both the Drive and Herd did a good job of not giving the Hustle open looks from deep, but it was also just a cold shooting week for the Hustle. If the Hustle are even remotely close to their season average of 36.2% from beyond the arc, they likely win at least one of those games. For a team that will constantly “let it fly”, cold shooting nights could produce games like the ones we saw last week.

MVP of the Week - Dusty Hannahs

Memphis Hustle v Grand Rapids Drive Photo by Todd Lussier/NBAE via Getty Images

Dusty was about the lone Hustle player to show up to both games at the showcase. Hannahs averaged 22 points at the showcase, but didn’t quite flash the passing ability he’s shown more often than not this season. Dusty shot just 3-9 from beyond the arc, so him averaging 22 points showed how more of a well-rounded scorer he has become. Dusty played well enough to hopefully get signed by an NBA team at some point this season.

Week 7 Grade - D

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

It was the worst week of the season for the Hustle, plain and simple. They didn’t look quite prepared for the pressure and opportunity given to them. I was expecting some of their key role players without an NBA contract to step up and draw attention upon themselves from the scouts, but outside of Dusty no other Hustle player really stepped up, outside of the two-ways and Josh Jackson. It’s not totally surprising playing in Las Vegas in front of a ton of scouts may have spooked the players, but it is still disappointing.

Week 8 Preview

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

Memphis Hustle @ Sioux Falls Skyforce (8-10) 12/27 7 PM CT

Agua Caliente Clippers (6-9) @ Memphis Hustle 12/30 12 PM CT

Rio Grande Valley Vipers (5-14) @ Memphis Hustle 12/31 12 PM CT

Game 18 Preview: The Hustle will travel to Sioux Falls to face off against Jeremiah Martin and the Skyforce tomorrow night. The Hustle won the first matchup in Southaven thanks in large part to a huge 4th quarter that saw them outscore the Skyforce by 16. The Hustle will have to do a better job of containing Martin and Heat two-way player Daryl Macon tomorrow night to take a 2-0 season series lead on the Skyforce. Without having Josh Jackson in the initial matchup, his defense should make things more difficult for the Skyforce.

Game 19 Preview: The Hustle will then return home for back-to-back matinee games to wrap up 2019. First up will be the Agua Caliente Clippers who the Hustle blew out in California back in early December. Former Memphis Tiger and Hustle player Markel Crawford exceeded season averages last matchup, dropping 20 points so look for him to try and continue his revenge tour. Outside of Crawford, the Hustle will just need to slow down big man Johnathan Motley and they should be able to handle an average Clippers team.

Game 20 Preview: The Hustle will then look to get a head start to their New Years Eve celebration with a game against the Rio Grande Valley Vipers. The Vipers have been disappointing this season after winning the G-League championship last year. Turns out, a ton of roster turnover will do that to a team. The Hustle blew out the Vipers about a week and a half ago in Texas thanks in large part to a huge scoring outburst from Dusty Hannahs (31 points). The Hustle will need to do a better job of containing Michael Frazier who went off for 25 points in the previous matchup. Isaiah Hartenstein also figures to be a matchup problem down low if he is down on assignment from the Rockets. Outside of those guys, the Hustle should be able to get the win and start celebrating the end of 2019.

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