The Memphis Grizzlies had a chance to return to the Summer League championship, as they hovered around the top-3 and had the point differential to make things interesting. To do so, they would need to outlast the Boston Celtics.
Unfortunately, the Grizzlies lost 108-91.
The Grizzlies didn’t start out hot, falling behind 14-3 due to some poor shooting. While the Grizzlies find themselves on the right footing over the course of the game, the Celtics were more forceful — attacking with physicality on both sides of the ball.
Point Ziaire returns
Ziaire Williams continued his on-ball experience, as he held down the primary initiator responsibilities with the starting group. Expected in a Summer League environment, there is a mixed bag, since this is an opportunity for him to expand the horizons of his game.
To start with the downsides, Boston’s defense was forceful, baiting him into 8 turnovers. They were jumping into passing lanes on Williams’ daring dishes, while also pressuring him to give him less wiggle room on his handle. He didn't generate a lot of dimes (2 assists) either, though it was a quiet game from the rest of the team.
The flashes were enticing though. He continued to make nice reads out of the pick-and-roll, primarily using slip bounces to the roller. More intriguingly, Williams made some wonderful pull-up jumpers in the mid-range. He has a lot of potential creating in that zone.
Ziaire Williams showing some fantastic shot creation flashes in this game. Really hard to contest his shot -- ideal size, elevation on his jumper, and leaves the ball at a high release point.— Parker Fleming (@PAKA_FLOCKA) July 14, 2022
Could be in line for a major role this season
Ziaire Williams showed more comfort over the course of Summer League action, and his performance here could parlay into a key role off the bench for him. With Melton and Anderson away, they’re losing a solid scoring punch and some facilitation. Those are areas Williams worked on in Summer League, and it could translate into a pivotal 6th role off the bench.
- Big Lofton Energy. This afternoon, Kenneth Lofton Jr. continued his bruising post game in the Summer League. He finished with 16 points, using a combination of skillful footwork and brute force on the low block. Though he wasn’t much of a factor on the glass (only 2 rebounds), his scoring impact was one of the few bright spots of the game. Lofton has shined in Summer League, and he’s a valuable asset for the Grizzlies on a two-way contract. Though he could realistically end up winning the G-League MVP award this season, it may not be long before the Grizzlies end up converting his two-way contract into a value full-NBA deal.
- Quiet afternoon from forwards. Sans a fourth-quarter surge from David Roddy, the forwards were pretty quiet for the most part. Jake LaRavia was a non-factor shooting the basketball, only hoisting up 2 shot attempts and not getting as many touches to create for his teammates off the dribble. After emphatic performances in back-to-back games, Santi Aldama wasn’t nearly as aggressive, as he finished with 10 points and 6 rebounds on only 6 shot attempts. There shouldn't be any cause of concern for these two players, but you’d hope for a bit more aggressiveness in the final Summer League game coming up.
- Up-and-down from Tillman. Xavier Tillman was assertive looking for his shot. I was a fan of how he attacked downhill and used his body. However, his lack of vertical pop hurts his finishing abilities. He likes that floater off the dump-off, though he had a few tough bounces and was blocked on them. Tillman finished with 12 points on 4-10 shooting and 2 rebounds in 19 minutes.
- Promise from Kennedy Chandler. Aside from Ziaire Williams, Kennedy Chandler probably showed the most promise in this game. He tallied 11 points and 10 assists, while shooting 5-13 from the field. He showed great poise when driving downhill, including some connections with Kenneth Lofton and David Roddy for inside finishes. His change of speed, strong burst, and great playmaking make him an intriguing point guard prospect, and he should fill in quite nicely as the Grizzlies’ 3rd point guard — getting developmental reps with the Memphis Hustle when Ja Morant and Tyus Jones are healthy, and filling in for them when either one of them is out.
The Grizzlies will have 1 more Summer League game to wrap up basketball for a couple months. Stick with GBB for more coverage.