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The Hustle Report: Resting up for the Restart

Hustle get much needed time off before the season resets

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2021 G League Winter Showcase - Memphis Hustle vs. Greensboro Swarm Photo by Jeff Bottari/NBAE via Getty Images

Showcase Cup Results

College Park Skyhawks 134 vs. Memphis Hustle 130 (OT)

Greensboro Swarm 122 vs. Memphis Hustle 118

Showcase Cup Headlines

  • Ahmad Caver & Shaq Buchanan join The Long View podcast.
  • Freddie Gillespie earns NBA Call Up with Orlando Magic (10-day hardship)
  • Hustle acquire Tyler Hagedorn
  • Darnell Cowart and Karim Mane pick up injuries in Vegas

Game 1 Breakdown

2021 NBA G League Winter Showcase - Day One Photo by Joe Buglewicz/Getty Images

Key Stats

  • Cameron Young- 32 points, 3 assists
  • David Stockton- 25 points, 6 rebounds, 14 assists
  • Darnell Cowart- 20 points, 13 rebounds
  • Shaq Buchanan- 19 points, 8 rebounds
  • Ahmad Caver- 15 points, 7 assists, 5 steals

The Hustle dropped their first game of the Showcase Cup after a close matchup against the College Park Skyhawks. The Hustle playing just hours after Freddie Gillespie’s call up were crushed on the boards, being outrebounded 60-39. The Hustle did a good job of forcing 19 turnovers, but ultimately Cat Barber (29 points) and Justin Tillman (24 points, 17 rebounds) proved to be too much for the Hustle to overcome. It was a valiant effort by the Hustle, who once again had just 8 guys available to them. Darnell Cowart stepped up big time in the absence of Gillespie before suffering a likely serious knee injury in the final moments of the game.

Game 2 Breakdown

2021 G League Winter Showcase - Memphis Hustle vs. Greensboro Swarm Photo by Jeff Bottari/NBAE via Getty Images

Key Stats

  • Cameron Young- 29 points
  • David Stockton- 25 points, 4 rebounds, 5 assists
  • Reggie Hearn- 22 points, 9 rebounds, 7 assists, 3 steals
  • Ahmad Caver- 15 points, 8 rebounds, 7 assists, 2 steals
  • Tyler Hagedorn- 14 points
  • Shaq Buchanan- 13 points, 5 rebounds, 4 steals

The Hustle were down to just 4 of their guys on the training camp roster with Darnell Cowart and Karim Mane missing the second game of the Showcase Cup due to injuries. Recently acquired Cameron Young continued to score points in bunches leading both teams in scoring but Arnoldas Kulboka (28 points on 7-9 shooting from deep) and Xavier Sneed (20 points) were too much for the Hustle late in the game. The Hustle built an 11-point halftime lead thanks to an incredible shooting performance (14-23 from beyond the arc) but the team cooled off shooting 6-23 from deep in the second half. It was another great effort by the Hustle, with recently acquired Tyler Hagedorn showing off his stretch-big abilities but the teams tired legs ultimately gave out in the end.

Hustle Stats

2021 G League Winter Showcase - Memphis Hustle vs. Greensboro Swarm Photo by Jeff Bottari/NBAE via Getty Images

5: Cameron Young has been a fantastic story line for the Hustle this season. Young was cut by the South Bay Lakers during their training camp and was acquired by the Hustle earlier this month after Romeo Weems’ season-ending injury. Young has since scored 20+ points in his past 5 games, including a career high 32 in the first game of the Showcase Cup. It’s been an incredible run for Young who has benefitted from the Hustle (and Grizzlies) injuries. He’s gone from a guy with no G League home to a potential call up candidate in the matter of two weeks.

46: The Hustle were middle of the pack at best in forcing turnovers in the 12 games leading up to the Showcase Cup, forcing just 17 turnovers per game. Down their stud big man, the Hustle amped up the defensive pressure and forced a total of 46 turnovers in two games at the Showcase Cup. Forcing turnovers helped keep the Hustle in both games despite being out-rebounded by double-digits in both matchups. It will be interesting to see if the Hustle can keep the defensive pressure up for the regular season, particularly if Freddie Gillespie returns after his 10-day stint with the Magic.

MVP of the Showcase - David Stockton

2021 G League Winter Showcase - Memphis Hustle vs. Greensboro Swarm

It was hard to choose against Cameron Young for the second week in a row but Stockton gets the nod again this week thanks to his all-around play. Stockton really paced the Hustle offense and flashed both his scoring chops (25 points both games) and his passing ability (19 assists) while also being solid on the boars and defensive end. His age (30) and height (5’11”) will likely scare some teams away, but a healthy Stockton would be a serviceable guard for a team in need, especially with so many players in Health & Safety Protocols.

Showcase Cup Grade - B

2021 G League Winter Showcase - Memphis Hustle vs. Greensboro Swarm Photo by Jeff Bottari/NBAE via Getty Images

It’s hard to fault the team for going 0-2 in the Showcase Cup. They had very little available bodies and went up against two teams who had help from assignment and two-way players and held their own. In the two games, the Hustle had players play 35+ minutes 9 times while the other teams had the advantage of deep benches. The Hustle’s tired legs were evident as they struggled to find consistent offense in the final quarters of both games, but the fact that both games were even close is a testament to the effort the team put up in Vegas and the culture built on the team.

Restart Preview

2021 G League Winter Showcase - Memphis Hustle vs. Greensboro Swarm Photo by Jeff Bottari/NBAE via Getty Images

The Hustle will rest up with 9 days off between games as they prepare for the season restart. The NBA G League season will “reset” with records being wiped clean and the schedule picking up after the Christmas holiday. The Hustle will return to the court on December 30th when they will travel to face off against the Rio Grande Valley Vipers. The preview for the first set of games in the “regular season” will come in next week’s Hustle Report. Until then, the Hustle will focus on getting healthy and filling out their roster spots to avoid having to play their core guys heavy minutes for the final 36 games of the season.

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