Most of the more familiar Memphis Grizzlies players didn’t dress out tonight, as the team did as we all hoped by sitting out Desmond Bane, John Konchar, Killian Tillie, and Xavier Tillman for more offensive focus on the likes of Sam Merrill, Ziaire Williams and Santi Aldama.
So we all got to witness the first game with Sam Merrill starting at point guard for Memphis. Sam came out hot initially knocking down the first five points scored in this game. He finished the opening period with a promising seven points. On the flip side, the team as a whole finished the first quarter scoring only 13 points and that wasn’t even the Grizzlies lowest scoring quarter of the game (12 points scored in the 4th period)!!! I noticed Merrill missed some reads when on ball that could’ve been easy assists. That said he may not be the greatest passer but he may end up decent in that regard.
Defensively the team wing defenders got cooked today as Davion Mitchell and Jahmi’us Ramsey took turns cooking up the Grizzlies perimeter on their way to 19 points a piece.
Ziaire Williams scored 10 points, and he hustled up on eight rebounds. He did a lot of things well displaying some nice touch on his shot at times as well as his ability to create shots anywhere on the court. He was a -14 in the game because he couldn’t do much to help stop the likes of Ramsey and Mitchell in the wing, but he was aggressive and showed effort.
For all of the Santi Aldama haters, it’s only his 3rd game played in months not to mention his conditioning program at Loyola didn’t do him much justice for the next level game.
Santi had a double-digit rebound game with 12 boards for the game. Yes he was 1-13 from the field. Yes he also missed all five of his long ball attempts. However, he showed strong court awareness on both ends as a playmaking big and as a switch defender in space.
His couple of possessions defending Davion Mitchell was the best defense I saw on Davion all game. Santi was perfect on his two trips to the charity stripe going 4/4, further giving hope that his shooting everywhere else will eventually catch up.
Sean McDermott lead the Grizzlies in scoring with 13 points and five rebounds, while Ben Moore registered 11 points and eight rebounds himself. Sean made some acrobatic layups and pull-up shots that gives further clarity as to why Memphis still has him on the roster.
The Grizzlies looked like a team that got used to the heroic, star level play of Desmond Bane, Xavier Tillman, John Konchar and even “Kill Till” to a lesser degree. As the Summer league winds down next week, it’s gonna be interesting to see if the Grizzlies prioritize winning Summer League by starting the usual suspects again after a loss in their night off as well.