WHERE: FedExForum in Memphis, Tennessee
WHEN: 7:00 PM CT
HOW TO WATCH: Bally Sports Southeast/NBA League Pass
The Memphis Grizzlies enter their third preseason contest Saturday evening rolling through the competition. It is evident that Ja Morant and company want to destroy the opponent regardless of the time of year and at the moment they are doing just that. The competition for rotation spots has generated incredible play from both Desmond Bane and De’Anthony Melton while Xavier Tillman seems to have a lead on Brandon Clarke thus far.
The Atlanta Hawks are also entering their third contest of the preseason but have not had similar results. After playing a full roster and getting rolled by the Heat in Game 1, the Hawks rested many players against the Cavs in a three point loss.
It will be interesting to see if Coach Jenkins wants to continue building momentum with all of his players so that they are rolling at the start of the season or if he takes the opportunity to rest guys and let the fringe players get some run.
The rotation battle continues as well as the final roster spot competition. Sam Merrill has yet to see the floor while Kris Dunn, Jarrett Culver and Shaq Buchanan have all seen limited minutes. Did the staff see enough in Summer League or is he simply waiting his turn to crack some minutes in the preseason?
Jarrett Culver knocked down two threes in his 10 minutes of garbage time which is massive for his confidence as he looks to develop that part of his game. Brandon Clarke got his first minutes of the preseason and he still looks a little out of rhythm, while his shooting form looks even worse.
Is John Konchar v. Ziaire Williams a battle for the 10th spot in the rotation? On the one hand Konchar always seems to be in the right place at the right time and make the right play while Ziaire was heavily invested in by the front office. I would not be shocked to ultimately see Jenkins roll out an 11 man rotation, because remember, Dillon Brooks still has to be inserted into this rotation as well.
Clarke, Culver, and whoever remains between Merrill and Kris Dunn could all be on the outside looking in as far regular season rotation minutes are concerned (which is nuts).
Typically we say results do not matter in the preseason, because they don’t, but don’t tell these players that. Tonight’s results obviously come down to the gameplan for the starters and their minutes, but at some point it is fair to expect minutes for the fringe players to prove themselves.