WHAT: 2022 NBA Summer League
WHEN: 2:30 PM CT
HOW TO WATCH/LISTEN: ESPN3 (ESPN+)/92.9 FM ESPN MEMPHIS
PROJECTED STARTING LINEUPS:
MEMPHIS: Kennedy Chandler, Ziaire Williams, Jake LaRavia, Santi Aldama, Xavier Tillman
BOSTON: JD Davison, Brodic Thomas, Juhann Begarin, Sam Hauser, Mfiondu Kabengle
The Memphis Grizzlies got their second Summer League win in blowout fashion on Tuesday and look to carry that momentum into a matchup with the Boston Celtics. The Celtics have also been building some momentum in Las Vegas, after winning their last matchup against the Golden State Warriors. Both teams sit at 2-1 and have a chance to make the Summer League championship game with a win today, although they would need some help from some of the teams ahead of them.
The Grizzlies are coming off of their best game of the summer so far, where they tied the record for most points in a Summer League game. Santi Aldama, Ziaire Williams, and David Roddy all were extremely impressive, but can they keep it up? Here are a few things to watch for in the Grizzlies 2nd to last Summer league game.
Which Santi Aladama will we see?
In the Grizzlies first game in Vegas, Aldama had a pretty subpar performance. He scored just for point on 2-7 shooting and did not do very well on defense. To his credit, he has completely turned his game around in the last two games, scoring 22 and 31 points respectively on 64% shooting from the floor. He also hit 4 out of his 5 three point attempts against the Nets, showing that he can space the floor as well.
“That’s how I play basketball. If you’re a real fan, you know how I play basketball,” Aldama said after his 31 point performance. “This is me. If you think the other one is me, then you don’t know me.”
Aldama has certainly bounced back in spectacular fashion. As one of the more experienced players, even though he is just going into year two, it is exciting to see him develop as well as helping the younger guys. If the Aldama of the last two games shows up again, the Grizzlies should be in good shape.
David Roddy’s improvement
Roddy will be expected to contribute as soon as possible, especially considering that he was acquired through trading De’Anthony Melton. He had struggled to find his role but has definitely looked more comfortable in each game. Against the Nets, Roddy finished with 20 points on 7-11 shooting and showed his offensive versatility by scoring at all three levels.
Defensively Roddy has also shown a good amount of promise, despite some worries about his foot speed coming out of college. He is not an all-world defender by any stretch of the imagination, but also has not been a liability. If he can continue to improve defensively along with the offensive game he has already displayed, he could be a very good player for years to come.
Can Jake LaRavia find his shooting groove?
LaRavia has shown flashes of his offensive game in Summer league but has not been scoring at the rate many expected. He has attempted just 12 shots through the first 3 Vegas Summer League games and is shooting just 33% from the floor overall. Summer League is not always a reflection of regular season success, but I would like to see LaRavia be more aggressive against Boston.
Even though he has taken a back seat to guys like Williams and Aldama in the scoring department, he has still shown a lot of promise outside of his scoring. In the last game against the Nets, LaRavia showed some of his defensive potential with 2 steals and 3 blocks. He also showed off some of his playmaking ability against the Nets, finishing with 4 assists on some pretty sweet passes.
Overall, LaRavia has definitely left some to be desired for Grizzlies fans, but he has shown he can affect the game without necessarily scoring a lot of points. This quality will be important going forward as he might not have the ball in his hands a ton playing with guys like Ja Morant and Desmond Bane this season.
There is a lot to look forward to heading into the game today, especially since the rookies will be playing in their first semi-meaningful professional basketball game. The Grizzlies are currently 3rd, the tiebreaker is point differential — meaning a big win and a Knicks or Pelicans loss would likely get them into the championship.
Regardless of the outcome, I would definitely consider the Grizzlies Summer League a success.