On Monday night, the same two franchises did business, but it was on the court instead of on the transaction sheet.
In a game that featured only one likely 2021-2022 Memphis Grizzlies roster member (more on him in a minute) the Hot Grizz Summer came to a conclusion with a meaningless victory. Of course it wasn’t “meaningless” to those that have been playing a lot of basketball the last couple of weeks honing their craft and trying to show they belonged in an NBA franchise’s system, be it the Grizzlies one or elsewhere. But in terms of winning and losing? Growth and flashes of brilliance shine through more than the result of a single game.
What stood out in this game? Some quick takeaways.
- Why did Ziaire Williams and Santi Aldama sit? “Rest” will likely be the reason given, as will the idea of perhaps giving more of a look to players whose Memphis futures are more murky. The latter makes more sense than the former - both Aldama and Williams struggled for stretches in Vegas, but they both are also going to be Grizzlies for the foreseeable future. That’s not true of most of the guys that got run Monday night against the Clippers. One Summer League will not define Ziaire or Santi’s Memphis run. For the guys like Olivier Sarr and Romeo Weems who are hoping to catch on to a roster? These minutes made for valuable game film. Williams and Aldama playing would’ve made this contest more noteworthy, but them not playing doesn’t make the game a waste by any stretch.
- Sam Merrill is going to start for the Grizzlies, isn’t he? Most jokes have at least a dash of truth in them. No, Merrill shouldn’t immediately replace Grayson Allen as the de facto “wing” that Memphis Head Coach Taylor Jenkins trusts most. But he has shown not just in his 8-16 (3-7 from three) 20 point performance against LA but throughout his short Summer League stint with the Grizzlies that perhaps he isn’t just the “cost of doing business” with the Bucks for a couple of 2nd round picks in the future. He creates well off the dribble in a secondary fashion and, while it came against Summer League competition he certainly looked the part of an NBA player. Perhaps Merrill sticks around after all, even after the Clippers trade.
- Yves Pons is super fun. His offensive game is extremely raw. Him being the second two-way contract after Killian Tillie (replacing Sean McDermott) isn’t impossible, but it is less probable than it was a week or so ago as his holes in his scoring skill set have become more evident. But he has such explosive athleticism and a talent as a versatile defender that is well worth exploring. Here’s to hoping he hangs around with the Memphis Hustle, as the Exhibit 10 contract that he signed with the Grizzlies makes far more likely than it would’ve been without that deal. He gets more money than a normal G-Leaguer and gets a chance to grow offensively in Southaven while still being good for a highlight reel block or dunk a night. Sign me up.
Now, Grizzlies fans, we rest. We deserve it. Take the rest of the week off, tell your boss I was cool with it. They’ll understand.
GBB will be with you the rest of this shortened offseason. But for a moment, relax. It’ll be preseason basketball time for the Memphis Grizzlies before you know it.