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The Hustle Report: The Waiting Game

Hustle play just once as they wait for their schedule to pick up

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Texas Legends v Memphis Hustle Photo by Brandon Dill/NBAE via Getty Images

Week 2 Results

Texas Legends 115 at Memphis Hustle 99 (2-2)

Week 2 Headlines

  • Assignee Sam Merrill sprains ankle against Los Angeles Clippers
  • Jarrett Culver & Yves Pons figure to be last 2 in Grizz rotations as they’re assigned to Hustle on Grizz gameday

Game 4 Breakdown

Memphis Hustle v Mexico City Capitanes Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images

Key Stats

  • Ahmad Caver- 23 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals
  • Reggie Hearn- 17 points, 3 rebounds
  • Freddie Gillespie- 16 points, 10 rebounds, 3 steals, 3 blocks
  • Jarrett Culver- 13 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists
  • Shaq Buchanan- 10 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists

The Hustle dropped the second game of the mini-series against the Texas Legends despite both teams missing some key guys. The Hustle were without assignees in Sam Merrill, Killian Tillie and Santi Aldama but the Legends were without two of their best players in Justin Jackson and Carlik Jones (who hurt his ankle in the first game). Eugene Omoruyi dominated the game for the Legends en route to their win. You can check my full recap here.

Hustle Stats

Texas Legends v Memphis Hustle Photo by Brandon Dill/NBAE via Getty Images

3.5: Through the first 4 games of the season, Freddie Gillespie leads the G League in blocks per game with 3.5. His rim protection has been great this season. Gillespie picked up 9 blocks in the two games against the Texas Legends and has blocked a shot in every game this season. The Hustle’s overall interior defense hasn’t been great, but Gillespie’s quickness and length to recover and block shots has helped the defense mightily. Gillespie’s presence also helps the Hustle lead the G League in blocks per game (9.3).

15: The G League schedule has been a weird one for the Hustle, and some other teams. The Hustle played on the G League opening night of November 5th but have played just 3 other times since then. They have had a 9 day layoff and will have an 8 day layoff ahead of their next matchup. Overall, they will have had 15 days off in a season that is just 19 days old as of publication of this article. The time off has been big for development and working on things, but you can’t replicate real game action. The lack of consistency in the schedule has made things weird on the Hustle coaching staff and players.

MVP of the Week - Ahmad Caver

Texas Legends v Memphis Hustle Photo by Brandon Dill/NBAE via Getty Images

With just one game this week, picking Caver as the MVP of the Week was pretty easy. He helped spark the Hustle comeback against the Legends and put together a solid all-around game. Caver’s numbers speak for himself and he continues to prove that he’s worth a look by NBA teams.

Week 2 Grade - D

Texas Legends v Memphis Hustle Photo by Brandon Dill/NBAE via Getty Images

It was a pretty abysmal game for the Hustle, who trailed by as much as 26 against the Legends. The comeback effort helps the team avoid an F this week but with every game being important early in the Showcase Cup it would have been very beneficial for the Hustle to pick up a win against the Legends without two of their leading scorers. The team clearly misses David Stockton at the point, at least when Merrill is with the Grizzlies, but the team is too talented to get down as much as they did last week. It was a decent game from assignee Jarrett Culver and a bad one from Yves Pons. Not getting great games from your assignment guys isn’t very helpful either.

Week 3 Preview

Texas Legends v Memphis Hustle Photo by Brandon Dill/NBAE via Getty Images

Authors Note: The Week 3 Preview will cover the course of 2 weeks as I will be on vacation next week

Memphis Hustle at Austin Spurs (2-1) 11/26 7:30 PM CT

Memphis Hustle at Austin Spurs (2-1) 11/27 7:00 PM CT

Lakeland Magic (3-3) at Memphis Hustle 12/3 7:00 PM CT

Lakeland Magic (3-3) at Memphis Hustle 12/5 2:00 PM CT

Rio Grande Valley Vipers (5-0) at Memphis Hustle 12/7 7:00 PM CT

Games 5 & 6 Preview: The Hustle will hit the road for the first time all season when they travel to Austin to take on the Spurs after Thanksgiving. The Spurs are similar to the Hustle with the odd beginning to the season. They faced off against the Rio Grande Valley Vipers on Nov. 5th but have played just two games since (though they do play tonight). Two-way players Joe Wieskamp (19) and Devontae Cacok (18) pace the Spurs top heavy offense alongside rookie Joshua Primo (17.7). The Spurs will go as their young trio takes them, so the Hustle wings will need to do lock in defensively to slow them down.

Games 7 & 8 Preview: The Hustle will then return home to face off against the reigning G League champion Lakeland Magic. The Magic squad looks a fair bit different from the team that won it all last season but still have solid players in BJ Johnson and Admiral Schofield. The Magic success will likely be determined by the availability of their two-way players Ignas Brazdeikis (25 ppg) and Mychal Mulder (21 ppg). Lakeland has had both available just once out of 6 games this season and have had 4 games without either player. If the Magic are without either player, the Hustle need to take advantage and go for the sweep.

Game 9 Preview: The Hustle will stay home after their series against the Magic and host the Rio Grande Valley Vipers in their last home series before the Showcase Cup. The Vipers have had a hot start to the season and have 7 guys who average double-digit points per game, although some have only appeared in a couple of games. Trevelin Queen, Anthony Lamb, Christian Vital and Mfiondu Kabengele are the consistent key contributors. Garrison Mathews (two-way) and Usman Garuba are solid assignment players for the Vipers when they are sent down while two-way player Daishen Nix continues to provide plenty of upside if he can figure things out on the offensive end. The Vipers figure to be the toughest team the Hustle will have to face off against in the first 12 games heading into the Showcase Cup so a series split against the Vipers would be good.

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