Though the Grizzlies have struggled a bit at times during their first two games of the season, Memphis is now 2-0 to begin the 2022-2023 campaign. And it does not take a lot of deep analysis to figure out why exactly that has occurred:
Ja Morant has truly been magnificent through the first two games of the season, which included one of the best performances of his career on Friday night. And all of it was needed, as the Grizzlies were able to come back from a big second quarter deficit against the Rockets.
While Morant took care of the scoring responsibility, other Grizzlies starters and reserves contributed in big ways. From Desmond Bane finding other ways to contribute as he struggled shooting once again to the Memphis rookies finding success from deep, there were plenty of big factors that helped Memphis earn a needed victory.
Let’s hand a few grades from a fun Friday Night:
Ja Morant- A+
It seems like every time Morant takes the court now, his scoring prowess evolves to another level. And Friday night was one of the best examples of how he has evolved as a scorer that we have seen to date. His efficiency was off the charts, as he scored 49 points while shooting 17-26 from the field, 5-6 from 3, and 10-13 from the line, showing how many different ways he can succeed.
Morant has scored 40 or more points in a game 10 times now in his career. He know has produced the most 30+ point regular season games in Grizzlies franchise history. And his 83 points over too games to start the 2022-2023 regular season also is historic:
Most points through the first 2 games of a season in NBA history (via @stathead)— Fastbreak Breakfast (@fastbreakbreak) October 22, 2022
Wilt Chamberlain 106
Wilt Chamberlain 105
Anthony Davis 95
Michael Jordan 91
Wilt Chamberlain 86
Russell Westbrook 83
Ja Morant 83
Furthermore, he also made big contributions in other ways. He produced eight assists and three “stocks” on the night, including another poster worthy dunk. Though his scoring will stand out for obvious reasons, Morant impacted this game in various ways that allowed the Grizzlies to comeback and earn the victory.
John Konchar- A
This seems to be a very accurate way to describe John Konchar’s production over the past few seasons, and his contributions so far this season. The heroics of Ja Morant and emergence of Santi Aldama and others will grab the headlines, but Konchar’s across-the-board contributions and winning plays have made a huge difference through the first two games.
Over the first 2 games, John Konchar had recorded:— KJ (@kelwright) October 22, 2022
29 POINTS, 16 REBOUNDS & 5 STEALS.
Very neat. Veryyyyyy jitty.
Furthermore, Konchar is now 7-16 from three. The Grizzlies are clearly prioritizing shots from deep if they have good looks, and Konchar is making the most of his opportunities. Konchar’s last two games are only the second and third time in his career he has attempted more than five threes in a game, and yet he absolutely looks like a natural as a spot-up target for the Grizzlies. There should be no hesitation in allowing Konchar to be one of the leading sources of three-point attempts on the Grizzlies; his efforts since the beginning of last year make it worthwhile to let him let it fly.
David Roddy and Jake Laravia-B+
The Grizzlies were 19-42 from three last night, and a major factor in that success was the production from rookies David Roddy and Jake LaRavia. In only their second NBA game, Roddy and LaRavia combined to go 5-9 from three. Their efforts played a big part in supporting Morant early in the game as the Grizzlies clawed their way back from being down big early.
This level of efficiency should not be expected every game, but last night was a glimpse of what the Grizzlies are hoping the rookies can contribute more consistently as time progresses. The Grizzlies wanted to improve their shot quality options up and down the roster from their additions on draft night, and every bit of that quality was needed to get the win on Friday night. Hopefully Roddy and LaRavia will continue to shoot successfully off the bench in support of the Grizzlies’ main core.