It was a grand, entertaining time that served as a lighthearted way to kick off the season before preseason play. The fans were super into the festivities, and the players fed into it — finding each other for lobs, looking for the ooo-ahh dunk, and even getting into mini 1-v-1 battles in scrimmage play.
If you’re looking for critical production or hints at a rotation, you are going to be hard-pressed for takeaways. Perhaps the biggest takeaway from yesterday’s open practice was just the energy from the team. You can see that their appreciation for each other is genuine, and it looked like they were having a blast out there. Everyone was loose and having a good time before locking in for the 1st preseason game tomorrow night.
So A1 chemistry is the biggest takeaway. There were some quicker hitters though that could translate into regular season play.
- Big 12 airlines was having fun on the runway. Though we may never see Ja Morant in a dunk contest, the franchise guard made sure to give the fans a show to welcome them back to the Forum. He was hunting for lobs, chances to slam one home off the glass, and he was just clearly having fun in his element.
- Kyle Anderson was letting it fly. Kyle Anderson’s emergence as a 3-point shooter was the biggest player development storyline from this past year. It’s really changed his standing in the rotation and maybe even his long-term future here. Yesterday, Anderson hit 5 three’s, several of them coming off the dribble out of pick-and-rolls. It’s going to be fascinating to see if he could build on his shooting performance from last season, especially as he enters a contract season.
Like I said, Kyle Anderson letting it fly at will. pic.twitter.com/FdgoRZSrmD— Evan Barnes〽️ (@evan_b) October 3, 2021
- Jaren Jackson Jr. looking healthy. Probably the most important on the quick hits mentioned here, but Jackson was moving healthily and fluidly. He took some turns taking the ball down the floor, and he made some nice drives as well. He even gave the fans a treat by picking up Ja Morant from the perimeter and defending him all the way to the basket — one of the most enticing areas of his game.
- Ziaire Williams has a really good shot. Ziaire Williams has one of the greatest shooting forms I’ve see from a Grizzly in awhile. He possesses a really good up-and-down motion on his jumper, while also keeping the ball at a high placement level. He knocked down several 3’s in the team’s open scrimmage play, and he caught a few lobs as well. Even if it’s not in a game setting or anything, he made a nice first impression in front of the fans.
Ziaire Williams’ shooting form is mesmerizing pic.twitter.com/nn5EcjN1VZ— Parker Fleming (@PAKA_FLOCKA) October 3, 2021
- Non-participants. Kris Dunn wasn't present at yesterday’s Open Practice due to a non-COVID illness, per a team source. Dillon Brooks was at Open Practice, but didn’t participate in scrimmage play due to injury management, per Taylor Jenkins. Sam Merrill and Sean McDermott were there as well, but didn’t play in the scrimmage.