While most of the attention of the past week has gone to the Memphis Grizzlies front office and the barrage of moves they’ve made at the start of free agency, the young Grizzlies and other NBA hopefuls did their best to put on a show in Salt Lake City as part of the Utah Summer League. The SLC Summer League is essentially a tune up for the big Las Vegas Summer League that kicks off tonight.
The Summer Grizzlies went 2-1 in SLC despite being without Ja Morant, Brandon Clarke and Grayson Allen. With Morant recovering from a minor knee surgery, and Clarke and Allen both technically not Grizzlies yet, other players had a chance to shine in front of NBA scouts and coaches to prove their worth.
Yuta was far and away the biggest standout for the Grizzlies in SLC. In two games, he averaged 16 points, 9 rebounds and shot the bell well (12-24 from the field). He did a little bit of everything on the offensive end as he scored a ton, initiated the offense and set screens as a pick and roll/pop man. Yuta flashed his versatility in SLC and will look to continue his hot streak in Vegas.
Rabb had a solid showing in the first game, scoring 14 points to go along with 4 rebounds and 2 blocks. Most of what Rabb does well doesn’t show up in the box score. At first glance the 4 rebounds are underwhelming but when you watch Rabb play he’s always in good position and will give up the rebound to a guard to help get the ball up the court faster.
In his second game in SLC, Rabb was super underwhelming. He wasn’t nearly as aggressive, going 0-5 from the field and wasn’t much of a factor when he was on the court. Third year players don’t typically play in Summer League but with Clarke unavailable, Rabb had a chance to stand out and prove Summer League was beneath him. Instead, his inconsistent play may keep him on the roster in Vegas despite the addition of Clarke.
Shortly after the 2019 NBA Draft wrapped up, the Grizzlies inked John Konchar to a two-way contract. The Purdue-Fort Wayne product was signed as a solid all-around player and he flashed a majority of his skills in SLC. He averaged just 8 points in two games but also grabbed 13 total rebounds, 7 assists and 5 steals. Konchar struggled from beyond the arc (2-7) but made a ton of hustle plays that will quickly make him a fan favorite in Memphis and down in Southaven.
Julian Washburn was originally signed on a two-way deal last season when the Grizzlies had a rash of injuries to their wings. After a solid season with the Hustle/Grizzlies, Washburn continued to flash his skills in SLC despite losing his two-way contract. In 2 games, Washburn averaged 15 points, 5.5 rebounds and shot 11-20 from the field. Washburn is a little bit older than most prospects playing in Summer League (27) but he clearly has the skills to be a capable NBA player. It’s unlikely Washburn gets that chance with the Grizzlies, but another team would be smart to sign Washburn this offseason.
Despite having his 10-day contract last season cut short, Dusty Hannahs is still on the Grizzlies radar and he showed why with his play in SLC. Hannahs had a decent game 1, scoring 6 points in 15 minutes but he really showed out in game 2 where he dropped 20 points on 7-12 shooting (3-6 from beyond the arc). Hannahs’ bread and butter will always be the 3-point shot, but he’s really improved as an all around scorer over the past two seasons. Selfishly, I want Dusty back for his 3rd season with the Hustle but Dusty has shown he has the shooting ability to play in the NBA and some team should give him a shot as a two-way player.
The Other Guys
After a strong season with the Hustle was cut short by injury, the high scoring Tyler Harvey was a bit rusty in his return to game action. Harvey shot just 3-20 from the field and turned the ball over 5 times in just two games. Before his injury, Harvey looked like a player who had a real shot of getting an NBA contract but he looked like a shell of that player in SLC. He’ll need to turn it up in Vegas if he wants the training camp invite that seemed inevitable in March.
Ben Lawson stood out as a solid big man for the Grizzlies in SLC. He put up decent scoring and rebounding numbers in limited minutes and looks like a viable player for the Memphis Hustle next season.
Doral Moore did a lot Doral Moore things for the Grizzlies this week. Moore makes smart basketball plays and is good for at least one dunk a game. Most of Moore’s scoring comes right at the rim and his lack of range hurts his NBA chances, but the Wake Forest product played well enough to wind back up with the Hustle next season.
Paris Lee had a great first game with the Grizzlies, scoring 13 points, 7 assists and 3 rebounds in his debut. Unfortunately for Lee, his second game wasn’t quite as good scoring 9 points but on 2-8 shooting from the field.
After a disappointing first two games, Keenan Evans wrapped up the SLC Summer League with a solid 20 point game off the bench for the Grizzlies. Evans was a solid player for the 76ers G-League affiliate Blue Coats this past season and should be someone to watch out for in Vegas.
With just 3 games in SLC it’s not easy to fully evaluate the play of the players as they adjust on the fly with their new teammates. Regardless, it’s important to look at their play in SLC before they get under the bright lights in Vegas to see how the players respond to their success or struggles in Utah.
You can check out the Summer Grizzlies tomorrow night at 6 PM CT on ESPN3 as they take on the Summer Pacers in their first game in Las Vegas.