The Memphis Grizzlies opened their 2022 Las Vegas summer league with a game against the Los Angeles Clippers after going 2-1 in Salt Lake City. The Grizzlies started slowly in the first quarter especially on the defensive end, giving up 28 points in the first quarter. They also struggled offensively, shooting just 6-20 from the floor. These struggles continued through halftime and the Grizzlies were very sloppy with the ball to the tune of 12 turnovers and a 20-point deficit.
The second half had some bright spots from Kennedy Chandler, David Roddy, and Kenneth Lofton Jr. but the Grizzlies did not make much leeway on the scoreboard, losing their first Las Vegas summer league game 94-76. It was a very disappointing performance after three pretty solid outings in Salt Lake City.
Now for the Grades:
Kenneth Lofton Jr.—A: 18 Points, 4 Rebounds, 1 Assist, 4 Fouls, 5 turnovers, -2
A lot of Lofton’s scoring came when the Grizzlies were already down double digits but he was by far the most impressive player in the game. He continued to show off his post-scoring ability, bullying his opponents in the paint and getting easy buckets. He also showed off a bit of athleticism with some dunks adding energy to an otherwise disappointing game. His best play of the night was a beautiful hesitation move that bodes well for his possible NBA success and scoring upside, getting to the rim off the dribble rather than in post-up situations. Lofton Jr. continues to show why the Grizzlies were quick to sign him as an undrafted free agent.
David Roddy—B-: 10 Points, 5 Rebounds, 2 Assists, 1 Block, 3 Fouls, -2
At times during the first three summer league games, it seemed that Roddy struggled with his role. In college, he was the number one option and was aggressive often, which the Grizzlies have not seen much so far. It seemed that tonight’s game would be the same until Roddy had a breakout 3rd quarter. He scored on drives to the basket, a post turnaround from about 15 feet, and a catch-and-shoot three-pointer. He showed flashes of his scoring versatility and was the most impressive Grizzly besides Lofton. Roddy, along with many of the other Grizzlies, struggled to stay in front of Clippers' smaller, more athletic team, but overall he made a positive impact on the game.
Ziaire Willaims—C: 10 Points, 3-9 FG (1-4 3-PT) 3 Rebounds, 2 Assists, 4 Fouls, 3 Turnovers, -20
Williams is still struggling in his new role as a primary ball-handler and it is obvious that he is not comfortable with it. However, I still think it will be beneficial for his future even if it is not pretty at times. Ziaire did have some nice buckets and played solid defense even though the rest of the team struggled. He was still inefficient, but that can also be explained by his playing in a role that is foreign to him. All in all, it was a pretty average performance from the 2nd year forward and the Grizzlies will need more from him to be successful in the summer league. Before rushing to judgement, however, remember that if Williams is ever forced to play this role during the regular season the Grizzlies would have much more to worry about than just Williams.
Santi Aldama—F: 4 Points, 2-7 FG (0-2 3-PT), 8 Rebounds, 3 Assists, 3 Turnovers, -19
Aldama had a bad performance on both ends of the court. Offensively he missed shots that he should not have including a couple of tip-ins and a three-pointer that hit nothing but the backboard. Defensively he was attacked in the pick and roll and in one-on-one scenarios. It seemed that a lot of the Clippers’ easy buckets and open shots came either on Aldama or because of a late defensive rotation. Everyone has bad nights, but the Grizzlies need to see more from Aldama through the next 4 games especially considering that Jaren Jackson Jr. will likely miss the beginning of the season.
Ball security—F: 17 Turnovers
The Grizzlies and Clippers both ended with 17 turnovers but the Grizzlies were clearly hurt more because of theirs. It wasn’t simple turnovers either, there were a couple of behind the back/overhead passes that were never going anywhere. Overall the team was just way too careless with the ball and it hurt them severely. If the Grizzlies want to bounce back turnovers are the place to start.
Overall Grade: D
There were some bright spots but it was a bad night for the Grizzlies as a whole. Luckily this is the Summer league so mistakes are expected. Most of these guys had no idea they would be playing together 2 weeks ago, so it’s not surprising that there are some chemistry issues. As the summer league goes on expect the players to learn more about where and how their teammates like to receive passes, score and move within the offense. The Grizzlies will get a chance to bounce back tomorrow against the Timberwolves at 8 CT. Until then, don’t overreact to a single summer league game.