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Memphis Grizzlies vs. Milwaukee Bucks Game Preview

Grizzlies basketball is back!

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Milwaukee Bucks v Memphis Grizzlies Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images

WHO: Memphis Grizzlies (0-0) vs. Milwaukee Bucks (0-0)

WHEN: 7:00 PM CT

WHERE: Fiserv Forum — Milwaukee, WI

HOW TO WATCH/LISTEN: Bally Sports Southeast/92.9 FM ESPN Memphis



MILWAUKEE: Joe Ingles (Out, knee surgery recovery), Khris Middleton (Out, wrist)


MEMPHIS: Let’s see… Kennedy Chandler, John Konchar, Ziaire Williams, Santi Aldama, Brandon Clarke

MILWAUKEE: Jrue Holiday, Wes Matthews, Jordan Nwora, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Brook Lopez

Grizzlies basketball is finally back, and no I do not care if it’s just preseason. The wait is over. Tonight will be a game of first impressions. After months of speculation and predictions, the sample size for our offseason questions starts now.

This preseason opener features two teams that had very similar offseasons. Both hampered by injuries in the postseason, they stuck to the status quo — despite the array of moves from teams seeking to be in the same conversation as the Grizzlies and Bucks. Frankly, both teams were contenders last season, but their exits didn't come at full strength, as Ja Morant and Khris Middleton could not close out the season with their teams.

So there’s a lot of continuity with these two teams, seeking better breaks en route to a championship. In addition, their veteran acquisitions were also similar. Danny Green and Joe Ingles both suffered knee injuries at the end of last season, and their squads acquired them with the intentions of having a veteran presence around for big moments.

As the preseason slate of games is underway, what should we be looking out for tonight?

2022-23 Memphis Grizzlies Media Day Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images

Who do they start?

One of the Memphis Grizzlies’ biggest storylines in preseason will circulate around the starting lineup, specifically who’s going to fill in for Jaren Jackson Jr. There will be experimentation, and from the Media Day remarks, there are a number of different routes for them to go down.

There won’t be a lineup set in stone from the jump. Taylor Jenkins will likely toy around with different combinations to find the right one for opening night. Nonetheless, tonight could serve as a direction for the Grizzlies.

Do they go with Santi Aldama — who has received a lot of praise this week? He’s sure to be a fixture in the rotation in some capacity, and it could very well be as the starting power forward. So tonight will also serve as the first look at the Santi Aldama who’s apparently in to surprise everyone.

Does Taylor Jenkins roll with best player available with Brandon Clarke as the starting power forward? It’d certainly make sense, especially with an extension possibly on the horizon. However, it feels like he’s at his best as a scoring punch off the bench.

Jenkins could also issue a vote of confidence in his rookies and start either Jake LaRavia or David Roddy. Or he could go absolutely funky and start Ziaire Williams and Dillon Brooks as the 3 and the 4.

This lineup tonight may not be the opening night starting 5, but it will be a start towards that decision.

2022-23 Memphis Grizzlies Media Day Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images

More impressions with the rookies

Yes, technically Summer League was our first impression of the rookies, but I consider this more real. The rookies weren’t drafted to star in Summer League exhibition games; they’re here to support the core of Ja Morant, Desmond Bane, and Jaren Jackson Jr. While the veterans won’t play as much now as they will in the preseason, tonight will be our first look in seeing how these guys mesh with the rest of the team.

Jake LaRavia and David Roddy, in particular, are in the running for regular-season minutes from the jump — and perhaps an aforementioned starting job as well. It’s going to be fascinating to see how they play off playmakers like Morant, Bane, and Tyus Jones. Their outside shooting, offensive connectivity, and defensive playmaking could serve as tickets for immediate playing time.

Kennedy Chandler won’t be in line for major minutes, as he’s behind Morant and Jones in the depth chart. His number may be called throughout the season, especially with Morant’s injury history. However, he’ll have ample opportunities to run the offense in preseason play.

Kenneth Lofton Jr. and Vince Williams will wear Hustle Red more often than Grizzlies uniforms, so tonight could be extended look at the two-way players. Are we in line for a Kenneth Lofton Jr. and Giannis Antetokounmpo duel? You never know. It’s preseason, bay-bay!

While there will be rust here and there, it’s refreshing to watch NBA basketball once again. Tonight is the first of 5 preseason games, and the regular season is roughly 2 and a half weeks away.

Prediction: Grizzlies 103, Bucks 98

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