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Grizzlies Summer League Recap

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A dive into how the core Grizzlies did in Salt Lake City and Las Vegas

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2021 Las Vegas Summer League - Miami Heat v Memphis Grizzlies Photo by David Dow/NBAE via Getty Images

The Grizzlies wrapped up their summer league action with a win against the Clippers on Monday night. The Grizzlies played a total of 8 games this summer, with 5 of those coming in the MGM Resorts Las Vegas Summer League while the other 3 were played in Salt Lake City. The Grizzlies roster reached 17 players for Vegas, but there was a clear 8 guys that the Grizzlies prioritized in their development. Some of those 8 dominated and were shut down early, while others needed a majority of the 8 games to continue to grow their games.

Here’s a breakdown of how the core Grizzlies did this summer.

Desmond Bane

2021 Las Vegas Summer League - Miami Heat v Memphis Grizzlies Photo by David Dow/NBAE via Getty Images

SLC Stats (2 games) - 19 points per game, 5 rebounds, 3.5 assists, 1 steal (46.9% shooting, 30.8% from beyond the arc)

Vegas Stats (2 games) - 24 points, 3.5 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 steal (48.4% shooting, 69.2% from beyond the arc)

Desmond Bane was tasked with a large scoring role this summer and he made sure to deliver for the Grizzlies. Bane was one of the leading scorers in both SLC and Vegas, with a particularly hot shooting streak in Vegas. In his rookie season Bane flashed the potential to create offense for himself but was mostly a catch and shoot option from beyond the arc. After Vegas, Bane showed he can create offense for himself and showed glimpses of being able to take on a much larger role offensively. Grizzlies fans should be incredibly pleased with Bane’s performance this summer.

Xavier Tillman Sr.

NBA: Summer League-Brooklyn Nets at Memphis Grizzlies Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

SLC Stats (2 games) - 12.5 points per game, 9 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals (45% shooting, 33.3% from beyond the arc)

Vegas Stats (2 games) - 14.5 points, 6 rebounds, 7 assists, 2 steals, 1.5 blocks (45.5% shooting, 28.6% from beyond the arc)

Xavier Tillman also showed out in his first summer league appearance. He didn’t dominate scoring like Bane did, but he did a little bit of everything for the Grizzlies this summer. He played solid defense, racking up the blocks and steals while taking efficient shots in the offense. His 3-point shot was a little inconsistent but his vast improvement as a passer makes up for those limitations. Tillman growing into a solid passer down low could be critical to his growth. Overall, the Grizzlies have to be happy with Tillman’s performance.

John Konchar

Memphis Grizzlies v Houston Rockets Photo by Maria Lysaker/NBAE via Getty Images

SLC Stats (2 games) - 5 points per game, 9 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 steals, 3.5 blocks (36.4% shooting, 50% from beyond the arc)

Vegas Stats (2 games) - 7.5 points per game, 12 rebounds, 5 assists, 1 block (50% shooting, 25% from beyond the arc)

John Konchar was on his jitty this summer. He wasn’t aggressive offensively, making the extra pass and not forcing any unnecessary shots. What was most impressive was his rebounding ability. There is definitely a lack of NBA size in summer league, but Konchar crashed the boards like a 7-footer despite being the only guard in Vegas to average double digit boards. At this stage in his career, John is what he is. He is a low usage player offensively, but he finds ways to impact the game in other areas despite minimal shot attempts per game.

Killian Tillie

2021 Las Vegas Summer League - Brooklyn Nets v Memphis Grizzlies Photo by David Dow/NBAE via Getty Images

SLC Stats (2 games) - 9 points per game, 3.5 rebounds, 2 assists (42.1% shooting, 12.5% from beyond the arc)

Vegas Stats (2 games) - 14.5 points, 3.5 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 1.5 steals (40% shooting, 50% from beyond the arc)

Tillie had a bit of an up and down summer for the Grizzlies. He struggled a bit with his shot in Salt Lake City, but stepped up in Vegas and flashed his unique scoring ability. Tillie’s scoring and usage went up in Vegas and he responded with efficient shooting and floor spacing. A restricted free agent this summer, Tillie signed another two-way contract with the Grizzlies while in Vegas, locking him into another season with the Grizzlies and likely some Hustle minutes.

Sean McDermott

2021 Las Vegas Summer League - Miami Heat v Memphis Grizzlies Photo by David Dow/NBAE via Getty Images

SLC Stats (2 games) - 11.5 points per game, 4 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal (34.8% shooting, 26.7% from beyond the arc)

Vegas Stats (4 games) - 12.5 points, 2.8 rebounds, 1.3 steals (54.3% shooting, 47.1% from beyond the arc)

McDermott got off to a slow start this summer as he struggled to make baskets in SLC. McDermott made up for his cold shooting in SLC by being more impactful on the boards and passing the ball. In Vegas, McDermott got hot from deep after a slow first couple of games as he showed the 3-point shooting the Grizzlies were excited about when they signed him to a two-way deal last summer. After an inconsistent summer, McDermott will need to prove he can shoot the ball consistently to avoid spending all year down in Southaven.

Ziaire Williams

2021 Las Vegas Summer League - Chicago Bulls v Memphis Grizzlies Photo by Jeff Bottari/NBAE via Getty Images

Vegas Stats (4 games) - 12.5 points per game, 5.3 rebounds, 1.3 assists (38% shooting, 20% from beyond the arc)

The 10th overall pick in the NBA Draft had an inconsistent Summer League in Vegas. With limited practice time it was difficult for Williams to really get into a solid rhythm, but that didn’t stop him from showing flashes of his athleticism. Ziaire shined brightest with his 19 point performance against the Heat last Wednesday. Still, the Grizzlies are likely hoping that getting Williams into training camp where he can actually practice and get in a routine will help elevate his game.

Santi Aldama

2021 NBA Rookie Photo Shoot Photo by Brian Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images

Vegas Stats (4 games) - 6.3 points per game, 6.8 rebounds, 2 assists (18.6% shooting, 10% from beyond the arc)

Santi Aldama largely struggled in his first summer league appearance. Aldama had issues finding the bottom of the net, as he couldn’t make his shots (10.8 attempts per game) but did have one game where he flashed the potential that the Grizzlies saw when selecting him with the 30th pick in this year’s draft. Aldama struggled with jetlag and very limited practice/preparation time as he had to wait for the trade to process through the league. He did shine on Sunday night against the Bulls with a 13 point, 11 rebound, 4 assist performance.

Sam Merrill

2021 Las Vegas Summer League - Memphis Grizzlies v Sacramento Kings Photo by Bart Young/NBAE via Getty Images

Vegas Stats (4 games) - 11.3 points per game, 4.8 rebounds, 3.3 assists (42.9% shooting, 34.8% from beyond the arc)

Fresh off winning a ring with the Milwaukee Bucks, Sam Merrill came in from the Grayson Allen trade and flashed the all-around game that enticed the Bucks in the draft last offseason. Merrill shot the ball well while also kept his teammates involved and helped crash the boards. Merrill may not get a ton of minutes in Memphis next season, but he’s played well enough to get an extended look even if he spends quite a bit of time on a Hustle assignment. Merrill will likely adapt to the system quickly after playing 5 games for Jason March and the Hustle last season.

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